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Gainesville boys roll past Chestatee in soccer
Red Elephants take sole possession of first in Region 8-AAA soccer
Gainesville High’s Aidan Reising, right, celebrates after scoring a goal for the Red Elephants past Chestatee High’s John Hatch, left, and keeper Andres Olivas during the second half of their game at Bobby Gruhn Field Thursday evening. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

All of Gainesville's excitement after its 6-0 win against Chestatee on Thursday was subdued.

While the Red Elephants (10-1, 7-0 Region 8-AAA) were pleased to take over first place outright in the region, breaking a tie at the top with the War Eagles (5-5-1, 5-1), they know there's still a long way to go before they can lock up a region title and a No. 1 seed to the postseason.

"I like that we won, but we've still got room to improve," Gainesville coach Rick Howard said. "Now, we just have to turn our attention to playing Oconee County."

With the win, Gainesville has a nine-game winning streak and has allowed the opponent to score in just two of those outings.

Even though Gainesville controls its own destiny in regards to region title implications, the Red Elephants still have three region games against opponents with only one loss in region play (North Hall, Johnson and Walnut Grove).

Georgia Southern University signee Aidan Reising led the way for the Red Elephants at City Park Stadium with a pair of assisted goals.

His first strike came in the game's 19th minute on an assist by Eduardo Espinoza, giving the Red Elephants a 2-0 lead.

Reising struck again just past the midway point in the second half, more than 20 minutes of play after the last goal, with a kick into the back of the net on an assist by Junior Zaragoza.

Gainesville set the tone for the big win with four first-half goals in about a 28 minute span.

Merly Velasquez struck first for the Red Elephants on a direct kick in the game's 8th minute of play.

After three near misses in the following minutes, Reising connected on his first shot at the midway point of the first half.

"It feels good to set the tone scoring goals like that, especially against a team as strong as Chestatee," Reising said. "For our team, possession is key.

"We're just trying to keep control of the ball and find the open tunnels in the defense."

Leading 2-0 in the final minutes of the first half, Merly Velasquez weaved a shot around the keeper, followed promptly with a backflip to celebrate the shot.

The final goal for Gainesville in the first half was on a well-played chip shot over the keeper's head by Gainesville senior Eduardo Espinoza.

Caesar Regaldo, a sophomore, added Gainesville's final goal in the 66th minute of play.

The Red Elephants also did a good job containing the War Eagles' scoring opportunities - Chestatee only managed three shots on goal in the second half.

Gainesville visits Oconee County at 7:30 p.m. Monday in Watkinsville, while Chestatee faces North Hall on Monday night at The Brickyard.

GAINESVILLE GIRLS 4, CHESTATEE 2: Lady Red Elephants (9-2, 7-0) junior Hartley Carter got her team on the board with a goal in the game's 15th minute, then scored again midway through the second half to preserve the victory.

Meanwhile, Gainesville senior Liza Carpenter rebounded from a shot off the crossbar to score just three minutes later in the second half to extend the lead to 2-0.

Carpenter took the shot on an assist from Jazmin Penado, kicking it in the back of the net off the first touch.

Two minutes after scoring, Carpenter was there on the assist on Carter's second goal of the game, giving the seventh-ranked Lady Red Elephants a 3-1 lead.

Sadie Foote provided both goals for the Lady War Eagles (3-7, 2-4).

Carpenter said the entire team is focused on bring home a region title to the program for the first time since 2005. Gainesville is also looking to get back in the postseason after missing out last year.

"We started the season believing we had a chance to win region and we're not going to give up," Carpenter said.


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