Bobcats blanked by Black Hills in soccer

Black Hills scores twice in first half to beat Aberdeen

Forty minutes of control wasn’t enough for Aberdeen’s boys soccer team.

Visiting Black Hills did all its scoring in the first half and blanked the Bobcats, 2-0, in an Evergreen 2A Conference contest Friday night at Stewart Field.

This was a tale of two distinctly different halves.

The young Bobcats (1-2, 4-3) enjoyed a distinct edge in time of possession in an increasingly physical second half. They owned a 7-3 advantage in on-target shots following intermission.

But speedy Black Hills (3-0, 7-1) was even more dominant in the opening half. The Wolves easily could have led 4-0 at intermission had not Bekele Dowty hit the post in the 17th minute and been denied by AHS goalkeeper Luis Soto’s diving stop four minutes earlier.

Bobcat coach Larry Fleming was at something of a loss to explain the slow start.

“I’d blame it on spring break, but they’ve had spring break, too,” Fleming said with a tight smile. “We’re either not experienced enough or not focused enough (to play a complete game). But we played hard. I think we’re improved and we did play better the second half. That’s the way we should have played the whole game.”

Black Hills midfielder Evan Ellison manuevered past a Bobcat defender in the 14th minute and slid a crossing pass to an unmarked Michael Anderson, who tapped it into an open goal.

Twelve minutes later, Soto stopped a Bemnet Lester header, but the rebound rolled free along the goal line. As Fleming conceded, the ball probably would have gone in on its own accord. But a Bobcat defender, in a desperate attempt to clear it, accidentally knocked it into the net.

Aberdeen’s second-half chances included a long Tony Oropeza free kick from the left sideline that skimmed off the top crossbar. Oropeza was also high of the mark on about a 25-yard free kick with about three minutes remaining and Black Hills goalkeeper DevenJhade Marquez handled another free kick off the foot of Christian Sanchez in the 60th minute.

The best Bobcat scoring opportunity actually might have come in the first half. Taking a pass from Luis Martinez, Aberdeen’s Hulizes Chavez broke in one-on-one against Marquez in the 11th minute, but his shot sailed high.

Chavez intercepted a goal kick in the 29th minute and put a shot past Marquez, but the goal was nullified by an offside call.

Fleming cited the play of Chavez up front and Martinez in the midfield. The Aberdeen coach also credited the reserve work of junior Dillen Espana.

Black Hills scored with about five minutes remaining to take the junior varsity contest, 1-0.

The Bobcats travel to Centralia on Tuesday night before returning home Thursday to face Rochester.