The Eagles have landed … with a merciful thud.

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The Eagles have landed … with a merciful thud.

The Southerner

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Photo by Valentina Makrides

By Peter Mastin

Grady Stadium was not a safe place for the Eagles to land on Thursday night.

The host Grady Knights sent the visiting Atlanta International School Eagles to the bus early after demolishing them 10-0 in a game that invoked the mercy rule with just under five minutes remaining in the second half.

The Eagles’ descent began in the first 30 seconds when sophomore Ansley Marks scored a quick first goal.

“Way to kill their spirit,” a Grady fan yelled to the home team.

While not very welcoming, the assessment turned out to be accurate.

Photo by Valentina Makrides

AIS appeared to lose momentum from then on. With 29:35 on the clock Abby Orlansky made a nice shot from 30 yards out. Trailing 2-0, AIS did not advance the ball past midfield for the rest of the first half. The Knights, on the other hand, kept attacking on offense.

With an assist from Ellen Ericson, Orli Hendler kicked it in the upper-90 for another solid goal. Center midfielder Emily Ferris scored with 21 minutes left in the half and then Sophie Maschinot scored three consecutive goals, all from inside the 5-yard line. The last goal of Sophie’s hat trick came at 4:48 remaining.

Then halftime came.

Both teams returned to the field after the break and swapped sides as usual, but the clock was not set at its usual 40 minutes. By rule the second half was reduced to 20 minutes because if one team leads at halftime by six or more goals.

The Knights started the second half precisely where they ended the first.

Hendler scored her second goal in the opening minute of the second half. After one of the first real scoring attempts by AIS, Abby Orlansky dribbled, shot and scored her second goal of the night to make it 9-0. And finally, before the shortened half came to a close, Hendler completed a second Grady hat trick by scoring the game-ender  and invoking the mercy rule with 4:40 remaining.

“Sorry it wasn’t a closer game,” Ferris texted this reporter after the game.

The visitors must have shared that regret, but if the game is any indication of how March will go for Grady, the team will have little else to be sorry about this month.

Photo by Valentina Makrides

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