Bobcats pull away from Elma in soccer

Elma opened up with a loss against Elma last week before bouncing back for two wins by Friday, March 23.

Aberdeen had trouble getting things rolling against Elma for the first 25 minutes. But when the offense did get flowing, the Bobcats were tough to stop.

The Bobcats dominated late for a 5-0 victory in a non-league boys soccer match-up on March 20 at Davis Field.

Elma (0-3) played admirably on defense in the early going and did well to clear the ball out of harms way when Aberdeen was on the attack and shut down passing lanes to prevent through balls.

Aberdeen (1-1) started to look a bit more threatening around halfway through the first half and finally broke the scoreless tie with a goal from Luis Martinez in the 24th minute after A.J. Hernandez struggled to control a ball in the box.

Elma head coach Carson Seaberg said the team his young team is still learning and shaking off some rust early in the season.

“There’s always a learning curve on our backline and stuff like that,” he said. “Unfortunately, A.J. misplayed a few balls that he doesn’t normally misplay but everyone has games like that.”

Aberdeen went ahead 2-0 after Enrique Cuevas put home a rebound after Hernandez had already made a tough save in the 28th minute.

The Bobcats pulled even further away the 44th minute when Hulizes Chavez got another goal early in the second half, allowing both teams to sub in some of their bench players.

Aberdeen head coach Larry Fleming said it was good to see his team bounce back from its season-opening loss to Woodland and get his reserves on the field.

“Woodland was a tough game and we got down early so we didn’t get to rotate as many guys as we wanted to,” he said. “Especially since it’s non-league, we really want to rotate guys. Everyone played well and we switched positions to get them experience playing somewhere else.”

Elma tried to mount an offensive counter-attack but some unlucky bounces and some shots off the post prevent the Eagles from getting on the board.

When the Elma offense did show signs of life, the plays often involved Martin Baltazar. Baltazar took the ball the length of the field a couple of times and applied pressure to Aberdeen’s back line.

Fleming said he was glad to see his defense hold up when Elma created opportunities, especially with the length Elma was getting on its goal kicks.

“In a game with that much offense, usually you get scored on but our D played pretty well,” he said. “Hernandez was crushing his goal kicks. They were going like 70 yards and we’re not used to that. Our sweeper ended up winning the ball if we miss that, its a breakaway.”

The score was a bit lopsided but Seaburg doesn’t think the 5-0 final is a true indiction of how close the game was.

“We had our opportunities,” he said. “That’s how soccer goes. It could have been 3-2 or 5-0 but they got us. We made mistakes and they capitalized on the opportunities.”

Aberdeen will host rival Hoquiam today, while Elma is home against Chehalis.

Eagles 3, Bearcats 1

ELMA — Scoring three times within 10 minutes in the first half, Elma came away with a non-league win at home against Chehalis on March 22.

Elma had surrendered a goal in the seventh minute when miscommunication between the defenders and the keeper allowed the Bearcats to get on the board early.

The Eagles (1-3) took control of the game starting in the 20th minute when Martin Baltazar beat several defenders on his run toward the goal. Baltazar then assisted on goals in the 27th and 30th minutes that were both scored by Collin Decker-Hicks.

“We moved as a unit and put pressure on them. It was a good first half,” Elma coach Carson Seaberg said. “In the second half, we controlled the ball in the midfield but got a little bit anxious and didn’t utilize team movement as much but this is a good building block game.”

Seaburg mentioned Rodrigo Luna and Carlos Bautista for helping the offense move the ball through the midfield and generating scoring chances.

Eagles 1, Warriors 0

ROCHESTER — Carlos Bautista’s goal in the 55th minute proved the difference as Elma blanked Rochester in a non-league contest on March 23 at Rochester.

After making a run up the left side midway through the second half, Elma midfielder Baltazar launched a hard 18-yard shot. The Rochester goalkeeper made a diving save, but was unable to control the ball and Bautista put in the rebound.

Notching their second straight win, the Eagles (2-3) had a decided advantage in scoring opportunities.

“We hit the crossbar three times, we hit the upright twice and the goalkeeper made about 10 saves on-goal,” coach Seaberg said. “It was one of those games where about three inches one way on about four shots and they’re all in. We were able to break down their midfield and hold up possession.”

Baltazar, Rodrigo Luna and wing Josue Torres were cited by Seaberg for fine performances. Eagle goalkeeper A.J. Hernandez performed well on the few occasions he was tested.