LITHIA — Moments after his 18th season as Springstead coach ended, Sal Calabrese assembled his players near the team bench and essentially told them he couldn't have asked for a squad with more heart.
He just could've used a tad more height.
Facing a taller, more playoff-savvy Newsome side that never eased up on the offensive pressure, the Eagles surrendered three second-half goals in a 4-1 defeat in the Class 5A region quarterfinals. Left-footed senior Skylar Wilks led the Wolves (14-5-3) with his first hat trick of the year.
"Size was the difference, height," Calabrese said. "I mean, they won a lot more balls in the air, they won a lot more balls inside the 18, they were able to clear the ball out because of their size. That's an advantage for them."
But the Eagles kept things close through the first 60 minutes thanks to keeper Joey Lasala, who blocked one point-blank Newsome attempt after another as the Wolves took 35 shots.
"You saw in the second half a lot of our shots went to the corner. We made him work and that's how you get the goals," Wolves coach Neal Rickmers said. "You've got to get him going the wrong way. He made some great saves. He definitely kept them in the game."
Newsome took a 1-0 lead with roughly two minutes to play in the first half when Joey Perfetto's throw-in was headed, then flicked by Matt Staggs to Wilks, who sent it in from about 8 yards. Staggs scored in traffic directly in front of the net six minutes into the second half. Wilks later scored from about 25 yards off a free kick, then tapped in a rebound shot for his final goal in the 69th minute.
"We just pressured them. That was the whole plan, just to push on them, push on them, make them make mistakes," said Rickmers, whose team has won five in a row.