A goal in soccer feels even better when the assist comes from your brother.
In the first five minutes of the game, Woodland siblings Aidan and Jesse Thrall connected on the only goal the Beavers needed to beat Aberdeen 1-0 in the first round of the 2A district tournament Saturday at Woodland High School.
“Really important,” Aidan said of the early goal. “I’ve played them three times now and every time we’ve come out they’ve scored first except for this time.”
The scoring opportunity came suddenly.
Aidan crossed the ball over a defender’s head and Jesse threaded it into the net. It was a defensive game from that point on. Aberdeen went flat-footed in front of the goal, but the Woodland boys came to play.
“I felt like this really sets the tone for our playoff run,” Jesse said. “Obviously, I’m going to remember the goal. Setting the tone early is what I’m going to remember most.”
Woodland nearly added another goal when Aidan sent a hot shot at the net, but the Aberdeen goalkeeper made a diving save. Josiah Sanders fired a laser beam for the Beavers that hit the top of the crossbar.
Aberdeen’s first opportunity didn’t come until about 20 minutes into the match. The Bobcats crossed the ball to the open side of the net, but nobody was in position to take a shot. Finally, there was a kick at the net from further back but the ball sailed out of bounds.
Jesse tried to return the favor to his brother before halftime on a free kick, but Aidan’s header soared just wide of the net.
The Beavers and Bobcats played keep-away for most of the second half. Aidan took one more shot at the net, but once again the Aberdeen goalkeeper was there to make the save.
Aidan and Jesse agreed that defense was the key to victory.
“Our whole backline has been playing soccer since they were really young. To be able to keep as many shutouts as they have is really impressive,” Aidan said.
“That’s something that our program has that not a lot of other programs have,” he added. “Kids who have never played soccer before, they come in and they learn and want to get better. We rely on kids like that because we don’t have a big soccer club.”
Woodland (11-3-2) faces Tumwater (13-3-1) in the district quarterfinals Tuesday. The winning team advances to the state tournament. Tumwater defeated R.A. Long in a 6-5 PK shootout Saturday.