TENINO — In both squad’s season-opener Tuesday night on the Black Top, the Toledo-Winlock United boys soccer team got two goals from Matthew Ethridge, and kept Tenino off the scoreboard in a 2-0 win.
Ethridge’s first goal came in stoppage time in the first half, firing a shot right at Beaver keeper Alex Reichelderfer, who let the ball slip through his hands and legs in the 39th minute. Then in the opening moments of the second half, Ethridge came through again, finding the back of the net in the 47th minute.
His season-opening brace would prove to be the difference Tuesday evening.
“It's a good start for sure,” United coach Corny Sanchez said. “(Ethridge) is our senior, he’s our leader. We have a lot of experience with these boys and they stay active through the summer, I’m pretty happy with them.”
Not to be overshadowed by Ethridge’s performance in the middle, the United defense held Tenino to a goose egg, thanks to some timely saves from its keeper and a little bit of luck, with a few Beaver shots bouncing off the crossbar.
For the Beavers, while it wasn’t the outcome they wanted, coach Kevin Schultz knew if a couple of different things went their way, they would be starting the season in the win column instead of with a loss.
“Things started to work offensively in the second half, but we have to get the ball in the back of the net,” Schultz said. “Credit to United, they played well. Matthew Ethridge played really well, we gave him too much space in the middle, so we’ll have to work on that. For our first game, it was good to see us improve from the first half to the second half and we have to keep improving.”
Schultz said the graduating pieces last season, including at centerback, and the Beavers defensive shape, in particular, made a big difference, but he praised the efforts of Salvador Ontiveros and David Espinoza for creating chances and getting most of Tenino’s shots on target.
United will look to continue its winning ways against 2A Centralia on the road on Thursday, while Tenino looks to bounce back against Hoquiam on Friday.