By Bonta Hill
Visiting Washington High School didn’t start well, nor did it finish strong, but it did more than enough in the middle stages of the game to outlast Lincoln on Thursday.
In an exciting game in windy conditions, the Eagles held on for a 4-3 victory and handed the Mustangs their first loss in Academic Athletic Association play.
Freshman Marianna Aquirre scored two first-half goals and helped the Eagles (9-1) withstand a furious Lincoln rally in the game’s final seven minutes.
“We knew coming in, this was going to be a really tough match, and our girls were prepared for it,” said Washington coach Charles Brinton. “The girls were a little nervous at the start, but they settled in nicely.”
In the 19th minute, with the game tied at 1-1, Aguirre received a corner kick from Jan Van Hasselt in front of the Lincoln goal and easily chipped it in for a 2-1 lead, an edge the Eagles would never relinquish.
“Jan always sets us up with great passes and she’s a great midfielder,” said a gracious Aguirre. “She passed it and I was just there to get the goal.”
But the Mustangs (8-1) did not go away, and showed why they came into the match undefeated in the AAA. Down 4-2 with only seven minutes left, forward Zandalee Agudelo slipped in a shot to the right post past Washington goaltender Ericka Lane to bring Lincoln within one.
Lincoln had a golden opportunity to tie the contest in the game’s final five minutes with a corner kick, but Washington’s defense did just enough to deny the Mustangs a clear shot on goal.
Lincoln coach David McPherson saw plenty of things his team can correct in the second half of the season.
“It’s a matter of coming together because there were a lot of errors we committed today for sure,” McPherson said. “We wanted to set the tone early and we did, but it’s a matter of playing the whole game.”
One of the mistakes Lincoln made resulted in a free kick for Washington from eight yards out and gave the Eagles a 4-2 cushion in the second half’s opening minute.
Lincoln illegally passed the ball back to its goalkeeper, which resulted in Washington’s free kick, which Van Hasselt easily nailed inside the right post.
“There were mistakes on both ends, but next time we play them we’ll look to overcome them,” McPherson said.
L – 2nd minute: Erika Ruiz
W – 9th minute: Marianna Aguirre
W – 19th minute: Marianna Aguirre
W – 22nd minute: Nina Bazan
L – 34th minute: Katja Wiles
W – 51st minute: Jan Van Hesselt
L – 73rd minute: Zandalee Agudelo