GIBSONTON— All week East Bay soccer coach Becky Wickham said she has been asked about a possible district title game against Newsome on Friday.
"I told them we have to play Wednesday first," Wickham said.
And the host and top-seeded Indians got a challenge from fifth-seeded Riverview in Wednesday's Class 5A-8 semifinals, but survived with a 1-0 win to earn the right to play Newsome in Friday's title game. The second-seeded Wolves beat fourth seed Durant 2-0.
"I knew this was going to be a brutal game," Wickham said. "These girls know each other. They have history. I think we're lucky to come away with that 1-0 win.
"We didn't play our best game. We weren't looking for feet. We weren't making space."
Wickham described her team's early effort as "panicked" and "jumpy," and said the Indians might have played with too much adrenaline coming off the break. Even though East Bay outshot Riverview 15-5, the only difference was leading scorer Brittany Cox's goal from the right side of the net at the 49-minute mark.
East Bay (12-3-2) has its opportunities, as another Cox shot hit off the left post and another Indians shot hit off the crossbar and down. But also credit had to go to East Bay's young defense, which is comprised of three sophomores and a junior.
"They're awesome," Wickham said. "I have very little worry about my back row. They work well together. They step hard."
Sophomores Ashley Caal and Isabel Vasquez served as a wall in the back row, stopping the Sharks' scrappy offense from getting near the net.
"I'm proud of these girls," said Riverview coach Katie Clark, whose team finished 9-6. "They're learning to play real soccer."
In the first game of the night, Newsome's Taylor Decaire broke open a scoreless game with a score in the 35th minute on a pass from Liz Haumschild. Then, Shea Rhoney cleaned up her own corner kick for a goal in the 60th minute to give the Wolves insurance.
Newsome (13-3-4) and East Bay have tied each other in three of their past four meetings, including a 2-2 tie last month.