Falcon girls soccer team fends off Turks, 3-2

Hayley Newman battles for possession against Sultan. Newman finished with three shots on goal and helped South Whidbey get its second win of the season and sweep the Turks this year. - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Hayley Newman battles for possession against Sultan. Newman finished with three shots on goal and helped South Whidbey get its second win of the season and sweep the Turks this year.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

In a dim season, South Whidbey found some light on an October evening. The Falcon girls soccer team defeated Sultan High School 3-2 Thursday night.

“It was great to beat [Sultan],” said South Whidbey head coach Paul Arand. “The outcome wasn’t certain after beating them that first game 4-0.”

Makenzie Peterson scored twice in the second half for the Falcons to secure the win.

“Usually I’m the one that gives the passes,” Peterson said. “We’re learning finally to play together.”

The Turks (1-9-0) struck first in the 35th minute of the first half. Brandy Johnson, a Sultan senior, arced her kick over goalkeeper Lindsay Grimm and in for the goal to give Sultan a 1-0 lead.

Maia Sparkman, a freshman for the Falcons (2-8-0), responded two minutes later. Sparkman drilled the left corner of the goal on a penalty kick about 10 yards out to tie the game 1-1. She finished with two shots on goal.

“Maia is a great ball handler and really great at penetrating the defense,” Arand said.

South Whidbey’s Paige Farmer seemed to be everywhere. The sophomore chased down deep passes and pushed the ball downfield.

“Paige is a really quick girl and puts a lot of effort into what she’s doing,” Arand said.

Late in the first half, Farmer broke free on the right side and received a header from Angelina Berges. Farmer stopped her dribble, making her defender run past, but missed wide left on a kick one-on-one with the goalie.

“I really wanted to beat someone,” Farmer said. “I played the ball faster and I challenged people more.”

Farmer had a handful of opportunities by the goal but couldn’t get a good shot. She finished with two shots on goal.

“I really wanted to score, but obviously I didn’t,” she said.

In the fourth minute of the second half, Makenzie Peterson popped the ball over Turks goalie Korena Price and into the back of the net for the Falcons’ first lead of the night.

Sultan wouldn’t go away, and Johnson again scored in the 50th minute to tie 2-2.

Peterson chipped in a shot in the 66th minute for the 3-2 lead and final score.

Sultan pushed the ball downfield on South Whidbey’s half in the last five minutes, but the Falcons kept the Turks at bay to seal their second win of the season.

Sparkman and Farmer are both starters, but sat on the bench for the first 15 minutes. Sparkman nursed a knee injury after missing practices this week. Farmer nursed an ankle injury but also arrived late for warm-ups, and sat for disciplinary reasons.

In a losing season, Farmer is finding ways to still enjoy the game.

“I enjoy pushing down girls,” she said.

“It feels really good,” Farmer said. “I think personally, I played well.”

Falcon captains Laurie Robinson, a senior, and Jessica Manca, a junior, were on the bench to assist and encourage the team. Both will miss the season due to injuries.

“They understand the game very well,” said Peterson of the injured captains. “They can tell us what we’re not doing well,” she added.

Player attrition and injury has taken its toll on the soccer team, and the team was happy to get another win.

“Now we’re not last,” Peterson said with a laugh.

Arand was pleased to come away with another win after so many personnel changes.

“It wasn’t an easy game, but it was a rewarding game,” he said.

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