Brandon Valley found a way to do something no other team has done this season at Swisher Field Saturday afternoon.
The defending state champion prevented Aberdeen Central from scoring and knocked off the top-rated team 1-0 in Eastern South Dakota Conference girls’ soccer action. The setback is Central’s first regular-season loss since 2019.
The Golden Eagles were unable to unleash their speed and get behind the Brandon Valley defense.
“We just didn’t possess the ball near enough to try to break them down. The balls we were playing just weren’t the right ones,” said Central coach Merle Aske. “We need to get possession of the ball in the middle third and then go at them and then find a way to slot them. We just couldn’t get that done, today. We just kept turning the ball over and they just kept hammering balls over the top, and then we’re chasing and couldn’t get into our rhythm.”
It was obvious that the Lynx hit the pitch on a mission and were ready to go.
“I told the girls before we started that we needed to come out with energy and urgency. We’ve been working on that all week,” said Brandon Valley coach Alexis Lewis. “We came out with expectations of playing a competitive team. They’re a very good team. We just played well together which is what led us to a win.”
That sense of urgency was obvious from the opening whistle. The Lynx were quicker to the ball and won the vast majority of the 50-50 balls during the contest.
“They were stepping hard to the ball and we just weren’t. We were just way too casual about how we were going to get to the ball,” Aske said. “We didn’t put enough pressure on them to find a way to get behind them.”
A big part of the contest took place in the middle of the field where Brandon Valley controlled the ball.
Unlike previous Central opponents, the Lynx were able to prevent the Golden Eagles from getting up a head of steam and attacking the goal.
“Our midfield played excellent today,” Lewis said. “I feel a lot of their plays come from the middle and we just kind of shut it down.”
The lone goal of the game came on a corner kick when Emma Kirlin scored on a header in the 53rd minute.
Lewis said her team works on those types of situations.
“We’ve been working on corners and set pieces, and capitalized on them,” Lewis said. “That was a beautiful shot.”
Central is now 6-1 on the season. The Eagles play at Harrisburg on Saturday before facing Sioux Falls Roosevelt.
Aske figured Brandon Valley, Harrisburg and Roosevelt would be a demanding stretch of games.
“We knew the next three games were going to be our big stretch,” he said. “Now it’s a matter of trying to get back into a rhythm. Hopefully, this will put them back in the mood where they know how hard they have to work and get back at it.”
Brandon Valley 0 1 – 1
Aberdeen Central 0 0 – 0
First Half: None.
Second Half: BV, Emma Kirlin (Mara Nelson), 43rd minute.
Goalies: Brandon Valley, Paige Hoke (5 saves); Aberdeen Central, Paige Burlivich (12 saves).
Shots on Goal: Brandon Valley 13; Aberdeen Central 5.
JV: Aberdeen Central 2-0.
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