As season openers go, this was a tough way to start for Aberdeen.
Black Hills, showcasing a high level of speed throughout its lineup, took control of this Evergreen 2A girls soccer match from the outset and cruised to a 5-1 victory Thursday night at Stewart Field.
Whitney Lowe scored a hat trick and has seven goals this season for the Wolves (3-0). Arin Seidlitz and Jessi Fancher added one goal for Black Hills. Ali Morris scored the Bobcats’ lone goal.
“We thought with our new formation, we could get more players up top, but Black Hills just plays a much faster possession game,” AHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “That is what wore us down. They play so fast and were on target; we couldn’t put any pressure on the ball. They played so fast into space, we just couldn’t cover the space.”
The Wolves flowed on the Stewart Field turf, splitting the Bobcats’ defense and midfield to open up holes, passing lanes and chances on goal. They took advantage of that in the first half.
In the fifth minute, Lowe took a through ball into space just inside the penalty area from Alli Thompson and hit a blistering, rising shot past AHS goalkeeper Alexxi Timmons into the roof of the net for the opening marker.
Aberdeen (0-1) nearly tied the match in the 18th minute when Tayler Housden ran onto a pass from Jade Caskey and hit a 15-yard shot over Black Hills goalkeeper Ce Ce Noyan. The ball, however, hit square on the crossbar to stay out.
Lowe made it 2-0 when she took another Thompson feed on the run and hit a low near-post shot past Timmons in the 23rd minute.
Morris brought the Bobcats back to 2-1 in the 27th minute when she perfectly placed a 20-yard free kick from the left side just inside the left post to beat Noyan for the marker.
Timmons got a bit of measure back from the Wolves when she denied Fancher’s penalty kick shot in the 34th minute. Timmons dove low to the right for the save and smothered the rebound. Black Hills got the penalty kick on a handball off a corner kick.
Lowe’s presence was a factor in Black Hills’ third goal of the match in the 36th minute. She drew the defense away from Seidlitz, who scored an easy tapper from Lowe’s assist for a 3-1 lead.
Following halftime, the Bobcats was able to slow the Wolves down a bit. The majority of Black Hills’ shots were coming from long range and reserve goalkeeper Kayla Arnold was only tested toward the end of the match. Arnold led all goalkeepers with eight saves, with Timmons and Noyen at five each.
Lowe got her hat trick completed in the 76th minute on a breakaway through the Bobcats’ defense at 4-1. Fancher finished the scoring when she knocked home a 25-yard free kick that hit the bottom edge of the crossbar and went in in the 80th minute.
“We just have to understand that there won’t be another team in this league that will do that to us,” Sanchez added. “They came down here thinking they had to beat us in league and we should take that as a compliment. That’s the way we need to play. We have to put pressure on the ball better than we did tonight.”
Black Hills won the junior varsity match, 4-0.
On Tuesday, Aberdeen will hit the road to take on River Ridge.