The State 2A Soccer Tournament kicked off on Tuesday with 4 first round matches taking place while the other four took place on Wednesday. Throughout the first round of the tournament, all the home teams were victorious against their visiting opponents.
Our feature match was #12 Fife visiting #5 Aberdeen and that is the match we will have highlights and re-cap. The other matches we will link any other coverage by other media sources if they are available. All matches are winners advance to quarterfinals and losers are out.
It had been awhile since the Aberdeen Bobcats had to bounce back from a loss. In fact, they hadn’t had to bounce back since the 2022 season. But coming off of a loss to the #1 seed in Columbia River in the District Championship, the Bobcats had no time to waste in putting that loss behind them with the very quick #12 Fife Trojans coming to Stewart Field.
It wasn’t the dream start for Aberdeen either. Fife got off to a very quick start and showcased their speed as they pressured the Aberdeen defense in the early minutes of the match. Lance Nelson and Edgar DelaCruz led the attack for the Trojans as they tried to take advantage of some early communication issues by Aberdeen. However, the Bobcats fixed those issues and caught a break along the way. Thanks to some wild deflections Fife would put the ball in the back of the net, but an offsides call took away that goal and woke up Aberdeen at the same time.
For the final 20 minutes of the opening half, Aberdeen looked much better. They started possessing the ball more and stopped trying to force early looks. However, there was a dominant defensive force for Fife. Joel Garcia was a monster defensively for the Trojans. Any run created by Aberdeen was slowed down or completely shutdown by Garcia and the rest of the Fife defense. Aberdeen did get a good look on a ball that looked like it hit the crossbar before the Bobcats put it in the back of the net, but the official ruled that it hit the field goal crossbar, making it out of play and negating that goal. After a half of play, we were scoreless.
In the second half, both teams had even better opportunities. An early save by Braxton Dizon for Fife kept things scoreless. Antonio Granados was not to be outdone as he came up with a difficult save as well to keep it all zeros on the scoreboard. Once again, both teams came close to goals but neither were meant to be. Fife sent in a shot that hit the side of the post and bounced out but the Trojans thought it had crossed the goal line. After discussion, the officials ruled no goal and we played on. Aberdeen had a breakaway opportunity, and after scoring on the opportunity were called for a foul that wiped that goal. 80 minutes wasn’t enough and overtime would decide who moved on.
It didn’t take very long for the game-winning goal in OT. Evan Cone tried to settle a ball but didn’t control it cleanly. Instead, Cone volleyed a shot from well outside the 18-yard box and sailed it over the top of the goalie and into the corner of the net for the game-winning goal. With a goal from almost out of nowhere, the Aberdeen Bobcats had knocked off the Fife Trojans 1-0 and clinched their spot in the state quarterfinals.
Our MVPs of the match were Evan Cone for Aberdeen and Joel Garcia for Fife. Cone was an obvious choice after an incredible game-winning goal in OT. Nobody really seemed to anticipate the shot going in but it was in the absolute perfect place. Overtime likely wouldn’t have occurred if not for Joel Garcia. He had a very strong game defensively and did a really good job neutralizing a high powered Aberdeen attack.
With the win, Aberdeen will now take on #4 Sehome in the quarterfinals of the tournament on Saturday at 2pm in Bellingham. The Fife Trojans unfortunately had their season come to an end, finishing with a record of 12-5-3.
Other 1st Round Scores
#3 Franklin Pierce 3, #14 Tumwater 1
#7 Sammamish 1, #10 Archbishop Murphy 0
#2 North Kitsap 3, #15 Hockinson 0
Wednesday, May 17 Matches
#8 East Valley (Yakima) 2, #9 Bellingham 0
#6 Pullman 4, #11 White River 0
#5 Sehome 7, #13 West Valley (Spokane) 1
#1 Columbia River 3, #16 Foster 0
Friday, May 19 Matches (Quarterfinals)
#2 North Kitsap- 3, #7 Sammamish- 2
Saturday, May 20 Matches (Quarterfinals)
#6 Pullman vs. #3 Franklin Pierce- 5pm
#5 Aberdeen vs. #4 Sehome- 2pm @ Civic Stadium (Bellingham)
#8 East Valley (Yakima) vs. #1 Columbia River- 2pm