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Falcon soccer fortunes turn sour

"Sept. 16: Mariner 5, S.W. 3Scoring: J. Dunsmore, J. Gutzmer, S. RomeyTuesday: Sultan 3, S.W. 2Scoring: S. Romey, J. GutzmerThursday: Lakewood 5, S.W. 0Matt Johnson / staff photosKristen Aley takes a header at the goal post while she and goalkeeper Kellie Horn defend against a Lakewood scoring onslaught Thursday.Shaija Romey battles a Lakewood player at midfield.After winning their first game in a year last week, South Whidbey’s girl high school soccer players expected to follow with one, maybe two more over the past nine days. But, the competition was on to them, and the Falcons dropped two close contests to Mariner and Sultan, the suffered a blowout loss to Lakewood Thursday.Playing on what their coach called “sluggish” legs, the lady strikers had a hard night of it Thursday. Tired from practice and two intense games earlier in the week, the Falcons tried to make a game of it against the Cougars at Waterman Field. For the first half hour, they did, controlling the ball on the Lakewood end of the field and maneuvering in for a couple of shots on goal. The Cougars dribbled in one goal against freshman keeper Kellie Horn halfway through the first half, but it seemed like the charging Falcons would tie the contest up and hold their opponents to just one point. But Lakewood’s players were faster getting to the ball on almost every play and put a second goal in will 11 minutes to go in the half. The game went downhill from there as the Cougars went on to a 5-0 win.Falcon coach Paul Arand said Lakewood was just to fresh and quick for his team, especially after the hard week the Falcons had on the practice field.“They’re probably working too hard in practice,” said Arand.Close games, turf bluesThe one game the team had almost planned on winning in the three-game stretch was a contest against Mariner. The Falcons beat the Marauders last week at Waterman Field. But when they travelled to Mariner’s home turf, they received a rude lesson in surface tactics.It was literally the turf that beat the Falcons. The Marauders play on Astroturf, a surface Arand said his girls are not used. South Whidbey’s strikers appeared to be playing well enough for a tie, until two obstruction calls against them set up two Marauder free kicks. Both kicks turned into goals, icing the 5-3 win for Mariner.Sultan brought the closest game of the week to the Falcons. They edged the Falcons 3-2 in a Tuesday game that looked like it was going into South Whidbey’s win column. Sitting atop a 2-0 lead in the early going, the Falcon defense stopped the Turks until late in the first half, when they put their first goal in the net. The Turks scored a second time in middle of the second half, then earned a free kick on an obstruction call in the Falcon offensive zone. The kick squibbed into the net and sealed the win for the Falcons’ North Cascade league rival.“The same thing kinda happened,” said Arand, comparing the Mariner and Sultan losses.Arand said he will run his team through some easier workouts the rest of the week to prepare for a Tuesday road game against Granite Falls. The Falcons play at home Thursday against Meridian. The varsity game starts on Waterman Field at 6 p.m., while junior varsity plays at 4 p.m. in the South Whidbey Community Park."

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