In what Aberdeen coach Larry Fleming described as a learning experience, the Bobcats wound up learning the hard way.
Owen Terhorst scored twice in the final 14 minutes to give Woodland a 2-1 victory over the Bobcats in a non-league boys soccer match Saturday at Stewart Field.
The Beavers (2-1) avenged a loss (also by a 2-1 score) to the Bobcats last year in a district contest that determined a state berth.
As Fleming noted, Saturday’s evenly played rematch also had the feel of a postseason match. Aberdeen had the advantage in time of possession and prime scoring chances. But Woodland, putting together several nice runs, outshot the Cats, 16-14.
“I’d much rather lose and play a good team than win like we did Thursday (against a short-handed Elma team),” Fleming said. “At the end, it’s a good learning experience.”
For the majority of the game, however, it appeared that the Cats could have absorbed many of the same lessons in a victory.
Aberdeen drew first blood on Miguel Torres’ goal in the 26th minute. Aided by strong defensive play from the likes of Robby Lewis, Trevor Dawkins and Dylan Hughes, the Bobcats (1-1) made that marker stand up well into the second half.
In the 66th minute, however, Aberdeen goalkeeper Alexis Garcia-Guzman turned away a long Woodland shot off a throw-in. He failed to secure the ball, however, and Terhorst knocked home the rebound from close range.
Five minutes later, Aiden Thrall’s corner kick somehow threaded through several Bobcats to Terhorst, who converted from about five yards out.
Shifting to a more offensive-minded mode at that stage, Aberdeen applied unrelenting pressure for the remainder of the contest.
Torres and Cesar Corona, in particular, had several good opportunities. But goalkeeper Filiberto Alamilla made a leaping save on one try and Corora barely overshot the net on another attempt with about three minutes remaining.
Tony Oropeza launched a long through pass to Torres on the game’s final possession, but the senior forward was unable to control the ball before it rolled over the end line. The head referee called a halt after the ensuing goal kick.
“We just didn’t do a great job of getting the last good touches before we shot,” Fleming summarized. “Offensively, we created a lot of opportunities. It just comes down to anticipating (better).”
The Bobcats capitalized a rare Woodland miscue in scoring their lone goal.
Alamilla muffed Oropeza’s long cross from the right wing and Torres poked the loose ball home.
Oropeza found the net off a long pass from Lewis in the 31st minute, but that apparent goal was nullified by an offside call.
In addition to defenders Lewis, Hughes and Dawkins, Fleming cited the play of Damon McCormick. The senior defender came off the bench to mark up effectively against Thrall, a speedy freshman midfielder.
Enrique Cuevas scored twice and Luis Soto and Christian Bateman once each as Aberdeen took the JV match, 4-2.
The Bobcats travel to Hoquiam on Thursday.