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Top-seeded Eagles handle Brookings in first-round action

Aberdeen Central’s Jayda Hammer, right, leaps over Brookings’ goal keeper Brooklyn McGuire, bottom left, as McGuire gathered the ball as Hammer charged in on attack during the first half of Tuesday’s first round playoff match at Swisher Field. Photo by John Davis taken 10/5/2021

The No. 1-seeded Aberdeen Central girls’ soccer team advanced to the quarterfinals of the State AA tournament with a 6-1 win over Brookings Tuesday night at Swisher Field.

The Golden Eagles exhibited why they are the top-seeded team in the bracket right from kickoff, scoring in the first 15 seconds of the game. Morgan Fiedler received the ball on the right side of midfield and played the ball down the wing to Taryn Hettich who provided the cross to Jayda Hammer arriving in the penalty box for the finish.

Brookings equalized 10 minutes later on a left-footed effort from Bobcat sophomore forward Elise Lefers that slid past Paige Burilovich into the bottom right corner of the goal.

Central regained control of the round-of-16 matchup in the latter part of the first half with a goal from Lauren Joosten.

“When you score that early it’s easy to relax a little bit and we got a little too complacent and didn’t move the ball quickly enough,” said Aberdeen Central coach Merle Aske. “But the girls did a good job of getting back into it and we got a few goals.”

Central scored two more goals before halftime, the first of which was a skillful individual display from Fiedler. The senior came inside from the right wing and weaved through defenders for a one-on-one finish in front of Brookings goalkeeper Brooklyn McGuire.

Deshani Peters created the Eagles’ fourth goal of the half when she sprinted to the sideline to keep the ball from rolling out of bounds and supplied a pass to Taylor Lyke in the middle of the penalty box for a smooth finish.

Peters and Abby Witte scored for Central in the second half, and the Eagles avoided any chance of an upset bid from the visiting Bobcats.

“The girls understand that we need to play every game like it’s for our lives,” Aske said. “It’s easy to overlook opponents, and when you score in 15 seconds, it’s really easy to relax. Going forward, we’re going to have to be cleaner and cleaner because the games are going to be tighter and tighter.”

The Eagles now face the Watertown Arrows in the quarterfinals at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Swisher Field. Central narrowly defeated Watertown 1-0 in the regular season two weeks ago. Central will look to avoid another quarterfinal upset on their home turf like last year’s playoffs and advance to the state semifinals.

Brookings 1 0 – 1

Aberdeen Central 4 2 – 6

First Half: Aberdeen Central, Jayda Hammer (Taryn Hettich) 1st minute; Brookings, Elise Lefers, 10th minute; Aberdeen Central, Lauren Joosten 25th minute; Aberdeen Central, Morgan Fiedler (Deshani Peters) 29th minute; Abereeen Central, Taylor Lyke (Peters) 40th minute.

Second Half: Aberdeen Central, Peters (Abby Witte) 56th minute; Aberdeen Central, Witte, 64th minute.

Shots on Goal: Brookings 14 (7 on goal); Aberdeen Central 42 (26 on goal).

Goalies: Brookings, Brooklyn McQuire (20 saves); Aberdeen Central, Paige Burilovich (6 saves).

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