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Falcon kickers win showdown to earn state berth

"Jaime Dunsmore fights for offensive ground in a soccer game earlier this season. Her team earned a spot in the state tournament with a win against Lakewood Tuesday.Matt Johnson / staff photoTwenty-three South Whidbey High School soccer players are about to live the dream of seven years worth of Falcon soccer teams.Having hoped since the beginning of September to make it into the playoffs this fall, the Falcons of 2000 accomplished their goal in the biggest way possible Tuesday, downing North Cascades Conference champion Lakewood 1-0 on the road to win a trip to the state tournament.Playing on Lakewood's dirt field, the Falcons had to overcome a tough opponent and an unfamiliar playing surface. They did not have statistics on their side. The Cougars finished the regular season as the top team in the NCC, having been scored upon only six times during a 16-game schedule. The Falcons had two of those scores, one in a 2-1 loss in preseason play and another in a 1-0 win during NCC play. In the early minutes of Tuesday's game, dirt-surface jitters made the game look like it was up in the air. Falcon coach Paul Arand said it took his players some time to get used to seeing the soccer ball move so fast across the hard dirt field. Plus, they had to fight a strong wind that made everyone's shooting and passing inaccurate.Freshman Claudia Gil-Osorio took the least time to adjust. Midway through the second half, she drove into the Lakewood zone to score an unassisted goal. No one knew it at the time, but that goal would wind up being the difference in the game.Coach Arand said Lakewood tried to bring their level of play up a notch after the goal, but had their only golden scoring opportunity foiled by defender Lindsey Binford. The Cougars beat Falcon goal keeper Kellie Horn to the punch, taking the ball to the top of the crease for a crossing shot that put Horn out of position. But Binford sprinted in and blocked what would have been a scoring shot.That was the last time Lakewood got close to scoring. By the second half, the Cougars could not make anything happen offensively. It was obvious that Lakewood was under a lot of pressure, Coach Arand said.The Falcons broke the Cougars completely late in the half when Gil-Osorio kicked a second goal. The referees called the goal back, but it was obvious by then that South Whidbey had the momentum.In the wake of the win, the 12-5 Falcons earned a trip to Tacoma Saturday where they play a state seeding game against Klahoya. The game starts at 3 p.m. at Clover Park. "

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