With more difficulty than might have been expected, Aberdeen completed a week-long sweep of Grays Harbor boys soccer foes.
Scoring twice within a minute in the first half and again in the waning seconds, the Bobcats beat Montesano, 3-1, in a non-league contest on March 24 at Stewart Field.
Tony Oropeza scored twice for the Bobcats (3-1), who downed Harbor rivals Elma, Hoquiam and Monte within a five-day span.
Considering that they were coming off a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten Hoquiam, the Cats entered Saturday’s contest against the winless Bulldogs (0-5-1) as heavy favorites.
Aberdeen did outshoot Montesano, 20-5. But Bulldog goalkeeper Waymn Thoemmes made several spectacular saves — including a diving stop of a Luis Martinez howitzer in the sixth minute — and a Monte defense led by Yemi Idowu did a good job of clearing the ball out of its own end.
Although they mustered few significant scoring chances, the Bulldogs also enjoyed more time of possession against the Cats than did Hoquiam on March 22.
“We played really well,” Montesano coach Rick Denholm said. “We played with a lot of heart.”
The Bobcats, meanwhile, had several promising runs blunted by offside calls. Aberdeen coach Larry Fleming, who believed his team played better than the score indicated against Hoquiam, wasn’t as charitable about this performance.
“It was mostly mental,” Fleming said. “To get caught offside that many times…we did not play very smart.
“Poor crosses, not good finishes and their goalkeeper played pretty amazing,” he added. “We had good effort, but we’ve got to get a lot better.”
The difference in the contest came during about a 30-second span in the first half.
Following the takedown of a Bobcat in the penalty area in the 19th minute, Oropeza converted the penalty kick. A diving Thoemmes guessed correctly and got his hand on the ball, but it continued into the lower left corner of the net.
After the Bobcats intercepted a pass following the ensuing kickoff, junior forward Hulizes Chavez broke in untouched against Thoemmes. When the Montesano goalkeeper came out of the net to challenge, Chavez sent a mid-range shot past him and into the lower right corner to make it 2-0.
Another penalty kick enabled the Bulldogs to cut the deficit in half.
After being wrestled to the turf inside the box, Luis Muro sent the ensuing PK through goalkeeper Christian Bateman in the 35th minute.
With Aberdeen dominating time of possession, the Bulldogs did not launch an on-target shot in the second half until the final eight minutes. Maurillio Hernandez’s 25-yard shot was handled by Bateman.
Hernandez had a free kick from just outside the box about four minutes later, but his attempt was well wide of the mark.
Finally, on what was literally the last play of the match, Chavez again shook loose on a breakaway. When Thoemmes came out of the net, Chavez slid a sideways pass to the onrushing Oropeza, who deposited it into an empty goal. The officials immediately signaled the end of the contest as soon as the goal was registered.
Oropeza came close to a hat trick. He rattled a shot off the crossbar in the first half.
Both teams were missing key starters. Aberdeen midfielder Luis Garcia and goalkeeper Luis Soto were absent due to family considerations. Montesano forward Connor Parkinson was out with a foot injury.
Fleming cited Bateman, who filled in for Soto in goal, for a fine performance.
Denhom praised the play of Thoemmes, Idowu, Muro and forward Braden Stowers.
Aberdeen took the JV match, 6-0.
The Bobcats open Evergreen 2A Conference action Tuesday at home against Tumwater. The Bulldogs travel to Seton Catholic the same night.
Tigers 4, Bulldogs 1
CENTRALIA — Class 2A Centralia controlled the first half in downing Montesano in a non-league contest Tuesday at Tiger Stadium.
Montesano closed the deficit to 3-1 when Connor Parkinson converted the rebound of a penalty kick in the 50th minute. The Bulldogs had some opportunities to narrow the gap even further, but Centralia hit about 35-yard shot in the late going to clinch matters.
“The first half we were a little tentative,” coach Denholm said. “The second half was much better.”
Midfielder Robert Thomas was cited for fine play.