By Giovanni Del Fa
Twitter – @Gio_Delfa
The Eastside High School girls’ soccer team has been a perennial powerhouse since coach Sergio Quintana took over three seasons ago.
Last season, the Lady Rams went 17-4-0 during regular season play. Half of their losses they suffered were to their 3A-District 5 rival, Lecanto High School, which eliminated Eastside in the regional semifinals.
“We’re very evenly matched,” Quintana said.
This season, with a very similar roster, the Lady Rams hope to achieve what they were close to savoring last season.
“The goal is to win districts and make it to the regional final and then win that,” Quintana said. “It’s quite an achievement to make it to the final four.”
In the past three seasons, Eastside has racked up 54 wins and only two losses in their regular season games. A big part of their success is due largely to experience.
The team has 12 returning players on their 17-player roster, which includes nine seniors, three juniors and five sophomores. Of those nine seniors, seven seniors have been four-year varsity members.
“They have matched, if not exceeded, any class of girls soccer players in school history,” Quintana said.
During their season last year, the Eastside girls’ soccer team scored an impressive 101 goals. However, it was not enough to win the district championship game versus Lecanto. It was the first time in the last three years where the district championship final between Eastside and Lecanto did not end in the Rams’ favor.
This season, Quintana hopes to work on the qualities he feels the team formerly struggled in to bring Eastside back its district championship.
“Last season we lacked some fitness,” he said. “As the season moved on we began to struggle in some games. Fatigue set in and finishing is another issue, we are not quite as polished. These are the things I’m thinking need to be worked on going into this season.”
Only two games into pre-season play, Eastside already has 20 goals to their favor with a 12-0 win over Lake Weir (Ocala) and an 8-0 win over Belleview.
Key contributors to this season’s team will be senior forward Sierra Millinor, senior midfielder Isabella Quintana, senior goalkeeper Rachel Zumberg and senior utility player Shiz Someya.
“Arguably, and you can ask around, I feel we have the best forward in Gainesville in Sierra Millinor, the best midfielder in Isabella Quintana, and the top goal keeper in Rachel Zumberg,” Quintana said. “Shiz Someya is top notch everywhere we put her, a utility player that makes good things happen.”
Millinor ended last season with 41 goals, 27 more than any other player on the team. In the past three seasons, she’s tallied up 99 goals.
Quintana finished off her 2018 season with 14 goals, 14 assists and three saves which brought her to a career total of 47 goals and 47 assists.
Zumberg achieved a remarkable 68 saves last season, those saves added to her current career total of 134 saves.
Despite constantly playing different positions, Someya scored 13 goals and assisted 13 other goals. She has a career total of 36 goals and 26 assists.
“We have a very talented senior class,” Quintana said. “We have good players in all areas. We have very good strengths and leadership. The girls enjoy playing together, they support each other. The comradery. This is their fourth year together for a lot of them.”
The Lady Rams are hoping that team chemistry will translate into another successful season, including a run all the way to the FHSAA Class 3A state semifinals, and possibly their first state championship game appearance in school history.