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Golden Eagles blank Jefferson for girls’ victory

Aberdeen Central’s Madyson Gillen, left, kicks the ball as Sioux Falls Jefferson’s Emerson Townsend, right, defends on the play during a playoff game last season at the Brownell Activities Complex. Gillen scored Central's first goal in a win at Jefferson on Tuesday. Photo by John Davis taken 10/8/2022

SIOUX FALLS – Aberdeen Central took out a little frustration on Sioux Falls Jefferson on the way to a 3-0 non-conference girls’ soccer victory Tuesday night. The Golden Eagles played with a bit of extra motivation after being shutout in their home opener last weekend.

“They were ready to go,” said Central coach Merle Aske.

He said the squad didn’t have a lot of energy in its opener, but that was not the case against the Cavaliers.

“You never know how you’re going to start a year,” said Central coach Merle Aske. “That really woke them up a little bit, and made them realize we can’t just show up. Teams aren’t just going to lay down for us. We’re going to have to go out and play.”

The Eagles hit the pitch with a purpose against the Cavaliers and set the tone early when Madyson Gillen nailed a free kick from about 25 yards out for a goal just 10 minutes into the contest.

“She did a really good job of putting the ball on frame and luckily it went in,” Aske said.

He noted that the goal was a bit uncommon.

“You don’t usually see an outside back putting a free kick in the net,” Aske said, “but it worked out pretty well for us today.”

And unlike the setback against Spearfish when the Spartans scored first and were able to play defensive soccer the majority of the game, Central’s early goal prevented Jefferson from employing the same strategy.

“That first goal is really important. Once you have that first goal, then if you’re playing a team that likes to sit back, try and hold you behind the line and keep you from scoring, once you have a goal on them, then they kind of have to change their mode a little a bit,” Aske said. “They have to play it forward, because they have to find a way to get a goal somehow and that kind of opened things up for us.”

Central got a pair of goals from Deshani Peters, one in the first half and another in the second half, to pull away.

Aberdeen Central’s Deshani Peters, center, sets to kick the ball between a trio of Spearfish players during Friday’s match at the Brownell Activities Complex. Photo by John Davis taken 8/11/2023

Aske said his players attacked and put pressure on the Cavaliers from start to finish on the way to the victory.

“Everybody did a good job of just doing what we needed to do and play the way we wanted to play,” Aske said, “and keeping the pressure on the other team, so that it was a little easier for us to move the ball around.”

As a result, the Eagles were able to get off 24 shots, 13 of them on goal.

“They just did a really good job of staying organized and moving the ball around, and finding the open person, instead of forcing the ball in,” Aske said.

Central plays host to Brookings at 2 p.m. Saturday at Brownell Activities Complex.

Aberdeen Central 2 1 – 3

Sioux Falls Jefferson 0 0 – 0

First Half: 1, AC, Madyson Gillen (free kick), 10th minute; 2, AC, Deshani Peters (Kailyn Poppen, Kirra Stillman), 22nd minute.

Second Half: 3, AC, Peters (Abby Witte), 67th minute.

Shots: Aberdeen Central 24, 13 on goal; Sioux Falls Jefferson 10, 4 on goal.

Goalies: Aberdeen Central, Ciara Frank (4 saves); Sioux Falls Jefferson, Nora Weaver (10 saves).

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