Tumwater shoves Aberdeen into a defensive shell in 2-0 win

Aberdeen’s game plan Tuesday night consisted of possession and creating chances and opportunities for its forwards to score up front. Tumwater countered with pinning the host Bobcats back into their defensive area and controlling the match.

The T-Birds made the Bobcats throw out their game plan, pinning the hosts into a defensive posture and scoring two quick goals early in the second half to control this 2-0 Evergreen 2A girls soccer match at Stewart Field.

“The game went back into that form, unfortunately for us,” AHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “We were able to do some things here and there for a few minutes, possessed well. Yeah, (the T-Birds) pass the ball really well and their wings do a great job of getting out into space to force us to get back and cover it. That’s what happens when you face a team that passes the ball very well and can hit you with quick plays. You have to recover quick.”

Tumwater’s plan of attack has been consistent all year — force the other team to play defense. Aberdeen had chances to possess and one-time the ball in the midfield, but couldn’t sustain them. In all, the T-Birds (4-4, 4-6) took over the match and never allowed the Bobcats (3-6, 4-8) to gain a foothold once they were down.

A tough-luck moment for the Bobcats gave the T-Birds their first goal of the match in the 42nd minute.

From the right wing, Tumwater’s McKenzie May crossed the ball across Aberdeen’s goal. An Aberdeen defender tried to clear the cross with a header, but the ball went off her head toward goal. The ball beat goalkeeper Alexxi Timmons and fell in for an own goal and a 1-0 Tumwater lead.

Aberdeen had a chance to tie the match in the 47th minute off a corner kick. Junior Emily Fisher sent a dangerous kick to the middle of the scrum of players in front of goal.

Senior Mo Donovan got her head onto the ball, but couldn’t direct the ball into the net as goalkeeper Mackenzie Bergquist scooped it up.

In the 52nd minute, Tumwater got its 2-0 lead that it deserved. May sent a tantalizing through ball to forward Hannah Fine, who popped the shot over Timmons from 16 yards out for the marker.

Needing to break out of its defensive shell, Aberdeen sent long balls to speedy freshman forward Jade Caskey for chances. However, Caskey’s best chance came on a defensive mistake in the 69th minute.

A clearance header went backward, allowing Caskey to get past a charging goalkeeper and all but one Tumwater player for the ball. On a last-ditch effort, May poked the ball away from danger.

“It is very clear when other teams see us on what we want to do,” Sanchez said. “It would be nice to connect on some of those long balls. She’s able to cover a lot of ground and force pressure on the goalkeeper, so (Tumwater) had to know where she was at all times. That’s a good thing. She’s a freshman and is going to be a heck of a player.”

Tumwater believed it had a 3-0 lead in the 71st minute when Mariah O’Neil sent a rebounded shot into the net that went through a hole in the lower left back corner. The game officials, however, didn’t see it, believing the ball went wide for a goal kick.

Both teams were even through the first 15-20 minutes of the match. Most of the possession was held in the midfield, while each team tried to impose its will. Aberdeen had two good chances on corner kicks during this time that could have set the early momentum.

However, the final 20 minutes of the first half — and the entire second half — was all Tumwater and its offensive pressure on Aberdeen.

The JV match ended in a 2-2 tie.

On Thursday, Aberdeen stays home to take on Chehalis.