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Falcons break Lyncs in playoff
"It's dangerous to play a team out for revenge.Revenge is what the Lynden Christian boys soccer team wanted Tuesday night when South Whidbey came to visit for a winner-to-state playoff game. Even though they finished the regular season as the North Cascades Conference champion, the Lyncs lost two games to the Falcons this year. On the Lyncs' home field for their first-ever playoff game, the Falcons laughed in danger's face, silencing the Lyncs 1-0 and blazing the start of a long trail to the state championship.From the starting whistle, the Lyncs did everything they could to make up for those two losses. The team's strikers and midfielders went on the attack in the South Whidbey zone, sending a half dozen balls at goalkeeper Mike Johnson while shutting down the defenders' attempts to make clearing shots. It was not the start Falcon coach Mark Helpenstell had desired.The first 15 minutes felt like we were in our zone too much, Helpenstell said.Eventually, the Falcons got past midfield for good. Senior Joseph Supang pioneered the Falcons' early forays into Lync territory, driving to the goal for a shot at the goalkeeper three times in the first half. Double and triple covered on every breakaway, Supang had little maneuvering room in which to kick the ball. The Lyncs' keeper took advantage of this, blocking all of Supang's shots.Giles Hamilton and Kevin Brink were also thorns in the Lyncs' sides, with Hamilton repeatedly running the ball down the sidelines in the offensive zone, and Brink bulling through the soggy midfield. Brink was also the go-to guy for a first-half penalty kick triggered by a Lync defender who took Supang down as he was lining up for a goal shot. Brink nailed a boomer on the PK attempt, but the Lync goalkeeper managed to get his body between the ball and the net, preventing the score.The game wore on well past the half without a score. By the 70th minute, the Lyncs were visibly worn down and unable to keep the Falcons off their end of the field. In that minute, Supang took advantage of the two defenders who had shadowed him all game. Making a solo break along his own sideline, Supang drove deep into the Lync defense, keeping the ball away from the two defenders, with the rest of the Lync defense close by. Instead of rushing the goal, as he had done throughout the game, Supang kicked a high crossing pass to senior Topi Manu on the opposite sideline. With only one defender to beat on the way to the goal, Manu made one feint, then hammered a point-blank goal kick through the keeper's hands and into the far goal post, where it ricocheted into the back of the net.Manu didn't even have to look after the ball left his toe. He ran up field, slid to his knees, and put his hands in the air as the Falcon bench erupted in cheers. He knew the game was won, as long as his team did not let up in the last 10 minutes. I was, like, get it back to the defense and let's start playing, Manu said.Did he have any doubt that the shot was going in, or that the game might go to the Lyncs? No way.This was our game.That was his coach's sentiment as well. Still, it didn't mean that he wasn't a little nervous in the minutes before Manu's goal.You always get worried when you get that close to the end of the clock, he said.The Falcons play a game today against the number-one ranked team in the West Central bi-district. Both teams will go on to the state tournament, with the winner receiving a better seeding."