The East Jackson girls’ soccer team is on track for a state tournament berth and would like to avoid entering the Class AAA bracket as a No. 4 seed.
With a win over Monroe Area in their final region game April 16, the Eagles would lock down a No. 3 seed for the state tournament, avoiding a pairing with unbeaten and Class AAA No. 1-ranked Westminster in Round 1.
“We would like to go ahead and take third — very much so,” East Jackson coach Meredith Gallman said.
That the team is on track for the No. 3 seed is heartening to Gallman, since COVID-19 issues limited the squad’s offseason work significantly — particularly its conditioning efforts.
“I feel that we have come together as a team,” Gallman said. “The girls are playing well together, and they’re fantastic.”
East Jackson stood in a tie for second place in Region 8-AAA with Stephens County entering a Friday (April 2) home game with the Indians, but fell 4-0 in that key matchup.
Stephens County’s Gabby Morrow recorded a hat trick in the first half alone, putting the game out of reach.
Morrow converted a PK in the 12th minute, scored on a 30-yard strike that tucked inside the far post in the 36th minute and later found the back of the net just before the half-time buzzer, sneaking the ball just under the frame with a shot from inside the box in the 40th minute.
Sadie Peace added a goal in the 64th minute, scoring from close range inside the near post.
Gallman was not discouraged by the loss.
“We were kind of going in off some injuries right now,” she said. “Everybody played great. I think we stuck together and held our heads up and did a great job.”
When asked about the future of the program, Gallman said her team must replace four graduating seniors next year, but does feel bright days are ahead for the Eagles.
“We’re going to keep building,” Gallman said. “We’ve got a couple of eighth graders coming up next year that are amazing. I feel like we will be strong and comeback strong.”
East Jackson is off until Monday (April 12, 5:30 p.m.) when it faces Jackson County in non-region play.