Aberdeen head coach Fidel Sanchez asked his team on Tuesday night to pressure the ball on defense and pressure the goal on offense.
The Bobcats responded at Stewart Field, fighting their way to a halftime lead and two late insurance goals to register a 4-1 victory over Ridge Ridge in a physically played Evergreen 2A girls soccer match.
Brittani Boora and Mo Donovan scored for Aberdeen (1-1, 1-2) in the first half, while McKenzie Brooks and Emily Fisher supplied the insurance goals late. River Ridge’s Savannah McGill scored her team’s lone goal.
“The girls needed the win,” Sanchez said. “They’ve been disappointed and frustrated and it is good to see them get a win under their belts and play more as a team. I’ll take it. It was a good win and we have something to smile about.”
Coach Sanchez noted that he thought the tone of the game would resemble the Bobcats’ first two losses of the season after McGill and the Hawks scored in the 10th minute.
Midfielder Avery Pinto controlled a long pass from the defensive line and slipped the ball into the path of McGill as she charged into the middle of the penalty area. McGill, without pressure, one-touched the ball past goalkeeper Alexxi Timmons for a 1-0 lead.
Unlike the previous two matches, the Bobcats adjusted and started sending the ball deep to set up long breakaways on offense.
“Yes, and I’ll take that, because we hadn’t been doing that previously,” Sanchez said. “There were shots on goal and that’s good. Our center midfielders were doing a better job of getting the ball to the forwards and we were getting more people up (the field) and in position. Take shots on goal and see what happens and they did that.”
On a solo run, Boora tied the match in the 17th minute. From a long breakaway, Boora came in on River Ridge goalkeeper Rebecca Stevenson and fired a 16-yard shot low, using the turf to skid the ball. Stevenson misplayed the shot, trying to kick-clear it and whiffed on the attempt. The ball went through her legs for the marker.
Aberdeen grabbed the lead in the 31st minute on another misplay by Stevenson. From the right flank, Brooks took a long shot that Stevenson tried another kick-clear on. The ball climbed up Stevenson and deflected into the path of Donovan, who headed the ball home for a 2-1 advantage.
With the lead, Aberdeen settled down, found more teammates to link to on offense and took the match to River Ridge. The match, from the start, was physical and rough in places.
The Bobcats nearly lost senior Rachael Schermer, who picked up a yellow card on an overly aggressive play in the 36th minute.
Defensively, the Bobcats did give up chances to the Hawks. However, after the opening goal, Timmons controlled her goal and her defense to keep the lead intact. The junior captain finished with seven saves on the night and was cited for her efforts by Coach Sanchez.
One save that didn’t get into the book set the tone in the second half.River Ridge’s Beautiful Reed went on a long run with the ball as Aberdeen defender Brianna Ashlock pressured her on her hip.
Timmons came out and met the duo, resulting in a three-way collision 16 yards from goal. In the end, Timmons had the ball secured without incident.
Brooks converted the first insurance goal in the 73rd minute, taking a long pass from Donovan and outrunning a River Ridge defender who was in front of her.
With the ball, the freshman forward slipped it past Stevenson for the 3-1 lead.
With confidence, junior midfielder Fisher took a 33-yard bullet shot on goal that easily cleared Stevenson and hit the net to put the match to bed in the 75th minute.
In the junior varsity match, Aberdeen cruised to a 9-0 win.
On Thursday, Aberdeen hits the road to take on Tumwater.