Tumwater wins defensive battle with Aberdeen in penalty kick shootout

The post-game feast on orange slices belonged to the Aberdeen and Tumwater defenses, posting a shutout through regulation and overtime before the penalty-kick shootout on Thursday night.

Neither team could successfully penetrate the defenses on the field at Stewart Field, sending this Evergreen 2A girls soccer match into a shootout. The T-Birds walked away with the win, a 0-0 (4-3) decision over the Bobcats.

Goalkeepers Kayla Arnold (Aberdeen) and Sara Thompson (Tumwater) will share the shutout credit with their defensive teammates. The offenses will have to settle for their spot-kick goals.

“We tried to work on the pressure on the ball, because Black Hills took it to us (last week) and gave them too much space,” AHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “We had to minimize that. That was the game plan. We just didn’t get enough offense. One or two passes, then we lost the ball. We have to translate what we do in practice to the game.”

Tumwater’s pace of play dominated regulation and overtime. The T-Birds held the majority of possessions, sent the most pressure at the Bobcats and smothered the hosts’ counter-attack waves effectively. Defenders Krista Kelly, Jaime Crews, Keysandra Smack and Lauren Brandt led the defensive effort for Tumwater.

Aberdeen (1-2), to its credit, never allowed Tumwater to get a clean shot on Arnold, who was starting in goal in place of senior Alexxi Timmons, who was on a softball recruiting trip to a college in West Virginia. The Bobcats’ back four — Kaylee Nguyen, Amanda Bradt, Sophie Hillebrant and Bree Ashlock — highlighted the defense.

Arnold, a junior, finished with nine saves in regulation and overtime and added one save during the shootout.

“Kayla, she could start in any other program in this league,” Sanchez said. “We knew Kayla was good. She stepped up in the right time in the penalty kicks. We just have to put the ball in the net. We just need to catch a break, because we really needed this one.”

Senior midfielder Emily Fisher, who moved to the defensive back four during the overtime periods to keep Tumwater away, had Aberdeen’s best chance at a goal in the 41st minute.

Getting the ball high from McKenzie Brooks, Fisher got a flick header onto the ball to help release herself for a run at goal. Her shot from 10 yards out, however, went over the crossbar.

Tumwater’s best chance to score came in the 65th minute. Mackenzi Bergquist hit an 18-yard blaster that beat Arnold, but the crossbar was up to the task to kept the ball out of the net.

In the shootout, Tumwater started the spot kicks and hit their first four shots — Selesha Harris, Sharlee Fine, Lauren Brandt and Payton Brown. Aberdeen hit its first shot from Fisher, but Brooks’ shot was saved by Thompson. Ashlock and Tayler Housden knocked in their shots, setting up a dramatic final series of kicks, down 4-3.

Arnold gave Aberdeen the chance by diving to her right to save Stephanie Moore’s shot. However, Jade Caskey’s shot went wide right to end the shootout.

The junior varsity match ended with a 0-0 tie.

On Tuesday, Aberdeen stays home to greet Chehalis.