Kickers score at Blaine

"Armed with a leftover axe to grind from a loss to Meridian last week, Falcon striker Topi Manu made up the missed shooting opportunities in that game by nailing a hat trick against the Blaine Borderites Wednesday night.His scores, plus another from senior Lane Richards, put the Falcon soccer team back into a winning mood after two straight losses, as they chalked up a 4-1 North Cascades Conference road win.Leading the defense from what was essentially a supporting role, senior Joseph Supang registered assists on Richards' and two of Manu's goals. Blaine's soccer field, which has about 3,000 square yards more running room than Waterman Field, suited Supang's and the Falcons' playing styles well, giving them wide open spaces in which to set up pass plays. Team coach Mark Helpenstell said his fast-running strikers were able to get more distance than the Borderite defense could cover.We didn't run these guys into the ground, but we did do a good job of controlling them, he said.South Whidbey's first two goals came in quick succession, with Richards netting one 22 minutes in and Manu nailing his own at 23 minutes. Manu had scored a second goal, this time in the 61st minute, before Blaine's Aaron Harmening won a showdown with Falcon goalkeeper in the 65th minute. But Manu got it back four minutes later on a penalty kick score, capping his hat trick.Helpenstell said his team played well in areas other than scoring. He credited junior George Supang with a solid game at stopper. Although he usually plays him as a striker or a forward midfielder, Helpenstell said the younger Supang's tackling and ball handling skills helped keep Blaine's strikers in check. Brandon Richards also added some key defensive playing time to the game, Helpenstell said.Next up for the 6-3 (4-3 league) Falcons is a road game Friday against Sultan. That game will be played at Sultan."

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