Aberdeen Central won the foot race at Swisher Field Saturday afternoon.
The top-rated Golden Eagles beat Brookings to nearly every ball on the way to an 8-0 girls’ soccer victory. Most of the goals came when Central players bolted past the Bobcats’ defense for breakaway attempts or high-percentage shots.
“A lot of teams try to play a high line even when there’s no pressure on the ball. If there’s no pressure on the ball and you play a high line, those strikers, we’re running full speed when the ball is played,” said Central coach Merle Aske. “It’s going to be tough to catch them. We have some speed. I don’t think we’re the fastest team in the state, but there’s enough speed up there that if you don’t have speed in the back, you’re in trouble if you keep playing a high line.”
It took a few minutes for the Eagles to get going, but once they did, Brookings had no answer.
Central scored five goals in a 20-minute span of the opening half, capped by Taryn Hettich, who then added the first goal of the second half.
“I think in the midfield we’re really good at finding openings in their back line and just able to split them,” Hettich said. “Our wings just run onto them and we were able to capitalize and get goals. It’s a huge factor for sure.”
The Eagles received goals from seven different players in all: Morgan Fiedler, Kailyn Poppen, Deshani Peters, Lauren Joosten, Abbi Witte and Alyce Laverdure, in addition to Hettich.
“Up top we have a lot of team speed up there,” Aske said. “They did a really good job of finding the places they needed to be. Then it’s just a matter of the person that gets the ball in, just pick somebody out and find them.”
Hettich said it all starts with defense, which the Eagles then quickly convert to offensive attacks.
“Our main goal is trying to get our defensive mids to win the ball and get the second ball, and then find our midfield and get it out to our wings and attack the goal and get some goals in,” Hettich said. “Another big key for us is getting the high pressure and not letting them get any space or any time to get their heads up. If we do that, we’re able to win the ball and again get up and out.”
While the Eagles basically lived in front of the Brookings goal all game, the Bobcats did not have many scoring chances against Central. Aske pointed out that the few shots the visitors did get were low-percentage chances.
“They had a few opportunities, but the biggest thing is we didn’t give them any good-looking opportunities,” he said. “They had some long shots and things like that. As long as you don’t let them in front of the box, it makes it a lot easier to defend. The girls did a good job of marking.”
The Eagles, 4-0 on the season, host Pierre on Saturday. The Governors are also unbeaten.
“They’re playing some pretty good soccer,” Aske said.
Aberdeen Central 8, Brookings 0
Brookings 0 0 – 0
Aberdeen Central 5 3 – 8
First Half: AC, Morgan Fiedler (Jayda Hammer), 14th minute; AC, Kailyn Poppen (Lauren Joosten), 24th minute; AC, Deshani Peters (Joosten), 28th minute; AC, Joosten (Abbi Witte), 29th minute; AC, Taryn Hettich, 34th minute.
Second Half: AC, Hettich, 41st minute; AC, Witte, 66th minute; AC, Alyce Laverdure (penalty kick), 69th minute.
Shots on Goal: Brookings 6; Aberdeen Central 24.
Goalies: Brookings, Ava Sandine 16 saves; Aberdeen Central, Paige Burilovich 5 saves, Ciara Frank 1 save.
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