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Late surge lifts Brookings past Central boys

Aberdeen Central’s Jordan Grieben, left, goes after the ball with Brookings’ Junior Eberline, right, during Saturday’s match at Brownell Activities Complex. Photo by John Davis taken 8/19/2023

It was a tale of two halves for the Aberdeen Central boys’ soccer team on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles gave up a trio of second-half goals as Brookings pulled away for a 3-0 Eastern South Dakota Conference victory at Gene Brownell Activities Complex.

The game was scoreless until the 60th minute when Brookings’ Forrest Giard scored the first goal, putting the Golden Eagles in a late hole. Central soccer coach Lance Mohr said a mental error led to that first goal.

“We were tired and when you’re tired you make mistakes,” Mohr said. “We made a mistake. We didn’t communicate and say there’s someone else back, so (Giard) turns, gets the ball back, and he has a 20 mile an hour wind hitting behind him at that spot, so anywhere outside of the goalkeeper it’s going in the back of the net.”

Mohr said the team did not respond when it needed to after the first goal, which led to Brookings taking control of the game.

“It was just a mental error, but I would’ve liked to have seen a better response, and we couldn’t find our way out,” Mohr said. “We couldn’t find a way to get the game tied.”

Ten minutes after the first goal, Brookings added an insurance score as Junior Eberline scored a second goal for the Bobcats making the task even more difficult for the Eagles.

“We come back from a 10-minute break and we go 30 seconds later and give up a bad goal,” Mohr said. “We’ve got to fight through those moments and get better.”

Brookings added a third goal from Noah Kieckhefer in the 76th minute for the final margin of difference.

“When we have something negative happen, like we did in the second half, we can’t find a way to get out of the rut,” Mohr said. “We get in bad habits and then all of a sudden it just kind of snowballs and before long it’s 3-0 and the game’s gone at that point.”

While Brookings gained the momentum in the second half, the teams played to a scoreless first-half tie, thanks in large part to stellar defense by both squads. Central’s defense was able to counter any Brookings attempt to get a shot on goal, while the Golden Eagles finished with five first-half shots on goal.

Mohr was pleased with the way his team played in the first half.

“The first half was probably the best 30-35 minutes we’ve played for the entire season,” Mohr said. “Then we come out in the second half and couldn’t find our plan.”

Brookings’ Elie Wongondombi, left, and Aberdeen Central’s Hunter Erickson, right, go after the ball during Saturday’s match at Brownell Activities Complex. Photo by John Davis taken 8/19/2023

Mohr said a large part of the errors are mental, which is something he wants to focus on correcting in the future.

“To be honest, right now it’s the mental part of the game that’s killing us,” Mohr said. “We give up a bad mistake, a bad goal, and that’s the game. It is what it is. We’ve got to work on it and try to fix it.”

Along with the mental game, Mohr said the team needs to find consistency as it prepares for its next game on Tuesday when it hosts Pierre at 6 p.m.

“We’ve just got to find consistency. We’ve got to find good, consistent effort at a consistent play so we can build on the number of minutes we play in a game that’s higher quality,” Mohr said. “Right now, we’re probably at about 30-40 minutes and it needs to be 60-65 minutes in AA if you want to win any games.”

Brookings 0 3 – 3

Aberdeen Central 0 0 – 0

First Half

No scoring.

Second Half

1, B, Forrest Giard, 60th minute; 2, B, Junior Eberline, 70th minute; 3, B, Noah Kieckhefer, 76th minute.

Shots: Brookings 3; Aberdeen Central 8.

Goalies: Brookings, Nithin Perumal; Aberdeen Central, Camden Fauth.

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