Sports

Lakewood unlucky in state soccer quarterfinal loss to Aberdeen

Fullback Andrew Priest did a commendable job in the backline shutting down the swift Aberdeen forwards. -
Fullback Andrew Priest did a commendable job in the backline shutting down the swift Aberdeen forwards.
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Lakewood controlled their May 19 State quarterfinal game with Aberdeen from start to finish. The Cougars produced more scoring chances than the visiting Bobcats and generally dominated play in the midfield. Lakewood strung together more passes, put more pressure on the Aberdeen goal and kept Cougar goalkeeper Peter Karrenberg out of danger.
It wasnt enough, however, as Lakewood could not punch through for the needed tie-breaking goal. The game ended in a scoreless 0-0 draw and penalty kicks were unkind to Lakewood, ending their state championship hopes 4-3.
Right from the opening kick Lakewood pressured forward on the Aberdeen defense. Evander Ochoa got loose on the right sideline in the games first minute and sent a cross through the penalty area that found Andrew Escalantes head. Escalante nodded a ball saved by the Aberdeen goalkeeper. One minute later Ochoa nearly struck again with a touch pass to a running Lucas Antonnascio up front. Antonnascio managed to touch the ball forward toward the goal, but not with enough power to severely test the goalie.
Minutes later, Antonnascio put together a 1-2 combination with Ochoa in the offensive end that split the Aberdeen defense wide open, but again resulted in only a lightly struck shot that went wide of the Aberdeen net.
Despite Lakewoods clear superiority in build-up and skill, Aberdeen did have an excellent game plan which they orchestrated perfectly. Aberdeens two strikers possessed impressive natural speed, speed that Lakewood took great care to defend. Lakewood fullbacks Quinton Baldwin and Andrew Priest were busy all afternoon chasing down the pair and keeping them from any cheap breakaway goals.
Aberdeen rarely attempted to build play through their midfield, choosing to regularly loft long balls ahead and challenge the Lakewood defense to catch their quick attackers. The long-ball style allowed Aberdeen to keep five defenders back at all times to stymie Lakewoods clear offensive superiority.
In the 17th minute, Lakewood saw a clear chance go to waste again as an Aberdeen handball set up a 25 yard free kick in front of goal. Aberdeen set their four man wall but Lakewood had the wind at their backs and could have certainly capitalized on the position of the kick. Sweeper Gerardo Resendiz boomed a shot that sailed comfortably over the bar.
In the 27th minute Lakewood produced another quality chance up front as an Andrew Escalante cross nearly found a streaking Eric Hawks at the far post. Hawks managed to get a shot off and win a corner kick out of the play but the ensuing play resulted in the Aberdeen goalie catching a lazily crossed ball in front of the goalmouth.
After halftime Aberdeen went even further into their shell, taking nearly no chances at all to move the ball forward on the ground and relying on their steady defense to keep the game level. At the 50th minute Andrew Escalante grew tired of the physical style of play and reacted angrily to a challenge from an Aberdeen midfielder. The two were seperated and Lakewood Coach Vaughn Vandelac sat Escalante down for a few minutes to cool off. Escalantes frustration was not unique as Lakewood simply could not capitalize on their talent.
In the 58th minute, Lucas Antonnascio produced another scoring chance up front for the Cougars. He controlled the ball on the right sideline and flicked a ball ahead to Evander Ochoa who crossed it neatly 12 yards in front of goal. But for Lakewood, as was the case all afternoon, nobody was there to finish it.
In the 62nd minute Aberdeen produced perhaps their only scoring chance of the afternoon, and even then, a marginal one at best. From a corner kick Lakewood goalie Peter Karrenberg mistimed a jump to catch the crossed ball. The ball sailed just beyond his reach and landed at the feet of a surprised Quinton Baldwin guarding the back post. As two Aberdeen players encroached, Baldwin sailed a huge clearance out from the goalfront and thereby ended the threat.
The two sides battled back and forth for the remainder of regulation, neither team gaining a distinct advantage. But in the first overtime Lakewood put together the best chance from either team of the afternoon. After some impressive build-up, Evander Ochoa found himself with the ball at his feet on the right side of the penalty area. Ochoa struck a ball perfectly into the center of the box where it found, in stride, an unmarked Gerardo Resendiz. Resendiz hit a powerful header, looking to be the game winner. But it was not to be as the ball went directly at the chest of the awaiting Aberdeen goalkeeper. The force of the shot surprised the goalie who barely had time to react. But he did react in time to swallow the shot up and preserve the shutout for Aberdeen.
Neither team produced a quality chance after that and the game headed for penalty kicks. Lakewood won the coin toss and kicked second. After Aberdeen scored their first shot Gerardo Resendiz knocked one home for the Cougars. Aberdeen scored again and Kelvin Mansfield missed wide left putting Lakewood in a hole. Aberdeens next shooter missed over the bar and Lucas Antonnascio leveled the scores at 2-2. With pressure mounting Eric Hawks struck to put things at 3-3 after the fourth round. Then Aberdeen again scored to make it 4-3 bringing up Evander Ochoa. Ochoa shot hard and in a seemingly good location, but his shot hit the inside of the right post and bounced away across the goalfront. It was an unjust way for Lakewoods season to end and particularly disappointing for Mansfield and Ochoa, two of the squads finest players.
Afterward Coach Vandelac summed up the defeat.
Weve had a great year and really stepped up in the playoffs. The boys are upset right now but weve had a good run of it. We outplayed Aberdeen, we just didnt put one in the back of the net today. We had our chances but we didnt finish it.

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