MACLEOD PAPPIDAS | THE DAILY WORLD
Aberdeen’s Titus Phillips, right, collides with Tumwater’s Connor Sigmon for the ball during Thursday’s Evergreen 2A boys soccer match at Stewart Field in Aberdeen. The Bobcats claimed a 1-0 victory over the T-Birds.
MACLEOD PAPPIDAS | THE DAILY WORLD
Aberdeen’s Victor Corona keeps control of the ball while holding off Tumwater’s Ethan Williams during Thursday’s Evergreen 2A boys soccer match at Stewart Field in Aberdeen. Corona scored the lone goal of the match in the 55th minute in the Bobcats’ 1-0 victory.
The snow and ice blast that greeted both Aberdeen and Tumwater turned Stewart Field into a ice rink prior to Thursday’s Evergreen 2A boys soccer match.
On the ice, the Bobcats weathered the conditions and the Thunderbirds long enough to strike in the 55th minute to hold on for a brisk 1-0 victory.
Senior midfielder Victor Corona connected on an 18-yard shot off a Juan Oropeza pass for the match’s lone goal.
“Not a thing of beauty, but before we scored, we deserved (to score),” AHS head coach Larry Fleming said. “We dominated play in the second half, passed well, got shot after shot. It was rewarding to have that goal from Victor. This was a good win and we’re looking forward to playing Hoquiam on Saturday.”
The snow and ice downpour lasted 10 minutes and it forced a change in strategy for the Bobcats (3-0, 4-0), who have adopted an aggressive offensive philosophy so far this season. With a slick turf, Aberdeen slowed down to a short pass-possession style and played a physical game with Tumwater.
“When you get this kind of weather, you have to change,” Fleming said. “We passed very well and you have to when you are playing in this ice storm. It was about winning the ball, hustling for the ball. It turned into a physical match right away and, for a while, it got crazy.”
On the halftime kickoff, Aberdeen nearly notched the first goal of the match. Senior forward Juanito Lopez dribbled through Tumwater’s defense and hit a 15-yard shot that second-half goalkeeper Hunter Moore saved. Moore replaced goalkeeper Dayton Newell, who had three saves, at halftime.
Both teams traded wide shots on goal to end promising runs before Oropeza delivered the Bobcats’ most tempting pass of the contest. On a run down the left side to the end line, Oropeza sent a low pass back to an open space inside the penalty area that Corona was running into.
The sophomore midfielder one-timed his shot as Moore watched it go into the left-side netting for the marker.
Tumwater turned up the pressure for the remaining 25 minutes of the match. The T-Birds sent waves of runs at goalkeeper Andres Valdes and his back-four teammates — Sam Ruiz, Seth Caba, Titus Phillips and Blake Liscombe. Oropeza eventually moved back on defense for a five-man line in the final 10 minutes of the match to help secure the shutout.
“In the second half, we were pretty fortunate,” Fleming added. “They deserved one goal like we did. Defensively, we played pretty well. We ended up playing defense a lot at the end in order to get out of here with the win.”
But before Aberdeen could enjoy the victory, Tumwater would see several chances that were nearly converted. Tim Wansing and Jacob Irwin each had great chances that Valdes smothered in the 66th minute.
However, the best chance hit the woodwork in the 73rd minute. On a long ball from Gavin Trotter, forward Bradley Saner got enough of a touch on the ball to redirect it past Valdez from 8 yards out.
The ball from Saner tricked for the far left corner and hit the post. Connor Sigmon, who was trailing the play, had a shot to deposit the ball into the net, but his attempt hit the post as well before it was cleared.
Valdes finished with six saves and the shutout on the night.
The junior varsity match ended in a 1-1 tie. Denis Calles scored for AHS, with Todd Caba cited for all-around play.
On Saturday, Aberdeen stays home to greet Myrtle Street Fùtbol rival Hoquiam.