The breaks didn’t go to Aberdeen’s way in a penalty shoot-out loss to Ridgefield in the quarter-final round of the 2A District 4 tournament in Aberdeen on Tuesday.
The Bobcats (11-3-1 overall) and the Spudders (12-5) alternated attacking and counterattacking in the first quarter of the game until Aberdeen began to assert their control and create the better scoring chances late in the first half.
That momentum continued into the second half when the Bobcats had an advantage in terms of possession and scoring chances.
After the game was scoreless midway through the second half, a man-down Aberdeen attack ended at the foot of elder striker Kaleb Myers, who drove deep into Ridgefield territory with an angled run.
On the first of many crucial calls/non-calls against the Bobcats, Myers was hit with a hard slide tackle that swept his feet off and thwarted the attack in an apparent foul and subsequent penalty for the Bobcats.
But the referees ruled the game legal despite Aberdeen’s objections as play went on.
Another attack from Aberdeen ended in a no-call when Bobcats junior Carlos Mendoza collided with oncoming Ridgefield keeper Jace Wilson.
Mendoza stayed on the pitch for half a minute before getting back on his feet.
Late in the second overtime, with Aberdeen threatening against a tiring Spudders defence, an outmanged Aberdeen attack was coldly stopped by a referee’s whistle when a ball deflected off the face of a Bobcats player was called a handball.
The game remained goalless until the end of extra time and went to penalties.
“We had a lot of shots and a lot of chances,” said Larry Fleming, Aberdeen head coach. “I felt really good in the second half and how we were pressuring them. I felt like we took over the game in the second half like we usually do. This is a solid opponent. The (2A GSHL) is really good down there and I feel really good about how we played.”
In the shootout, the Bobcats were served more bad breaks.
Aberdeen’s Miguel Martinez and Daniel Guzman converted their attempts, as did Ridgefield’s Robert Taylor and Elijah Adams.
Jude Willis converted to give the Spudders a 3-2 lead in the shootout.
Aberdeen’s Alan Avalos followed up with a shot that was blocked by a diving Wilson.
Ridgefield’s Jack Brown converted a try, as did Aberdeen’s Edwin Quintana, who gave Ridgefield a 4-3 lead.
Aberdeen keeper Antonio Granados – who had guessed correctly on all four Ridgefield tries up to that point – dived left on a try by Ridgefield’s Lucas Houghton, but Houghton placed his shot to the right and into the back net to give Ridgefield the 5 – 3 shootout win.
Further evidence that Aberdeen wasn’t breaking came in the shootout, where Granados got his hands on three Ridgefield shots but each was deflected into the net, two of them from the inside of the post.
“You talk a lot more about the mail,” Fleming said, keeping his fingers and thumbs an inch apart. “When you come to PKs, it can always go either way. We were lucky enough to win a pair, not this time.”
Although their district title chances were dashed with the loss, Aberdeen are still in a good position to secure one of the district’s four playoff spots.
Aberdeen host Rochester, a team they beat twice during league play, in an eliminator at Stewart Field on Thursday at 6pm.
Fleming said that just as they played Tuesday against a top-flight Ridgefield team, his team should have plenty of confidence to go into Thursday’s matchup.
“This game was more about playing well,” he said. “Now we can (on Thursday) be at home. … I told them in the scrum it’s a tough loss and it can happen sometimes, but the good news is we’re in great form. We have our destiny in our own hands and if we win (on Thursday) we have a good chance of being the hosts again on Saturday.”
Ridgefield 0 0 — 0
Aberdeen 0 0 — 0
(Ridgefield wins 5-3 on penalties)
Penalties – Ridgefield 5 (Taylor, Adams, Willis, Brown, Houghton); Aberdeen 3 (Martinez, Guzman, Quintana).
Elma 3, King’s Road Christian 2
Elma recovered from two goals to defeat King’s Way Christian in a 1A District 4 semifinal game Tuesday in Shelton.
The Eagles (16-0-2) were 2-0 down for the first time this season after KWC (10-4-1) scored twice in the first half.
Faced with a halftime and multi-goal deficit for the first time this season, the Eagles didn’t let up, they reacted.
Elma senior forward Valencia Mendoza put the Eagles in play with a steal and a goal in the 56th minute.
Ten minutes later, a steal was played by Canon Seaberg, who fed sibling Cason Seaberg for a goal to level the game 2-2 in the 66th minute.
Just four minutes later, Jose Perez sent a dead cross to Cason Seaberg, who headed it in to give the Eagles the lead and eventual victory.
“Our frontline players really pushed for us, led by Cason Seaberg’s relentless work pace,” said Elma head coach Carson Seaberg. “Although this wasn’t our best game, I’m very proud that they won with struggle and togetherness.”
The win moves third-place finisher Elma into Saturday’s district championship game against Seton Catholic No. 10 at Fort Vancouver High School (time to be determined).
The Eagles also bought their ticket to the 1A State Tournament.
“It’s a great feeling to qualify for the state tournament,” said Coach Seaberg. “This is a great group who, like many players in recent years, have lost a lot of chances due to the COVID restrictions.”
KWC 2 0 — 2
Elma 0 3 — 3
First half – 1, KWC, N/A. 2, KWC, n.a
Second half – 3, Elma, Mendoza, 56th minute. 4, Elma, Cason Seaberg (Canon Seaberg), 66th minute. 5, Elma, Cason Seaberg (Jose Perez), 70th minute.
Montesano 1, Tenino 0
Montesano saved Tuesday’s elimination in Montesano with a 1-0 win over Tenino in the 1A District 4 Tournament.
Montesano (12-5) scored after forward Levi Clements was knocked down on a slide tackle in the box, earning the Bulldogs a penalty.
Jiovanny Torres converted the penalty and gave Monte a 1-0 lead in the 31st minute.
The Bulldogs’ defense held the rest of the way to secure Monte’s third one-goal win over the Beavers of the season.
“We were better than on Saturday. We actually played the game,” Montesano head coach Fidel Sanchez quipped, recalling the Bulldogs’ 2-0 loss to Columbia-White Salmon in the first round.
The Bulldogs beat the Beavers 13-5 and had seven corners to just one for Tenino.
With Montesano’s first playoff win since 2018, the Bulldogs advance and meet King’s Way Christian on Thursday (time, location to be determined).
Tenino 0 0 — 0
Montesano 1 0 — 0
First half – 1, Montesano, Torres (penalty), 31st minute.