Sports

Coupeville blanks South Whidbey in boys soccer upset

South Whidbey was upended in a soccer stunner against Coupeville late last week, falling to their cross-island rivals, 3-0.

It was the second Cascade Conference game the Falcons (2-0-2 in conference; 4-0-2 overall) were kept scoreless.

“I don’t think we came prepared, really,” said South Whidbey senior co-captain Dean Freundlich. “We just didn’t have our heads in the game.”

South Whidbey rebounded from a 1-0 away loss to Sultan on March 25 to beat Lakewood 2-0 three days later.

Some of the Falcons said they felt confident the offensive kinks were worked out, but the problems resurfaced against Coupeville.

“I think we played more efficient then [on March 29],” said Falcon senior goalkeeper TJ Russell. “Friday’s game was the complete opposite of that.”

Spring’s winter weather caught up with the soccer team. Gerlach said Coupeville’s field was horrible; he described a 30-by-30-foot square in one corner that was essentially a pond.

The weather didn’t bother Coupeville’s Jesse Hallam, though. Hallam scored on an assist from Ben Hayes’ corner kick in the 23rd minute to put the Wolves on the board.

Coupeville boys soccer head coach Paul Mendes said the game was “50-50” up to that point. South Whidbey head coach Joel Gerlach said the game remained close after the first goal.

“I thought we just dominated the first half,” Gerlach said.

He didn’t have the statistics, but was sure his team had more shots on goal than Coupeville, especially in the first half.

At halftime, South Whidbey trailed 1-0 — unfamiliar territory for the Falcons.

“I think the team kind of got frazzled,” Gerlach said. “They’re not used to being down early in the game.”

Brandon Wilsey scored the second goal for Coupeville in the 58th minute. Russell deflected Wilsey’s shot, but the ball went in.

“It just wasn’t a game that I, kind of, wanted to be a part of,” Russell said. “Because nothing was really working out too well.”

By the third goal in the 77th minute, Freundlich said the Falcons’ morale was too low to mount a comeback.

“It’s hard to keep your head up when you’re losing like that,” Freundlich said. “You’ve got to play through it.”

Hayes scored the final Coupeville goal on a penalty kick in the 77th minute. Falcon junior goalie Garrett Thompson subbed in for Russell, then the goal was scored. Russell assumed all the blame.

“If I knew that was going to be a red card, I wouldn’t have done it,” Russell said.

Russell received a red card after pushing down a Coupeville player. Gerlach defended his goalie and said the particular player ran into and bumped Russell several times, but agreed the refs appropriately called Russell for the foul.

“That is a foul worthy of the punishment,” Gerlach said. “But I think it seemed kind of one-sided.”

Though the Falcons allowed the most goals this season against Coupeville, Gerlach said he was confident in his defense. South Whidbey’s scoreless night bothered Gerlach, however.

In both South Whidbey losses, the Falcons were scoreless. The frustrating aspect of Friday’s game with Coupeville for Gerlach, at least, was that his team had its shots. Gerlach said his team had a few one-on-one matchups with Coupeville goalie Isaac Wacker, but his players’ shots missed wide.

“We had some easy, missed opportunities,” Gerlach said.

Gerlach didn’t put the entire burden for losing on his team, and credited Coupeville’s head coach and players.

“[Mendes] has a very big defense and they’re hard to get through,” Gerlach said.

“Their goalie made some quality saves,” Gerlach said of Coupeville’s Wacker.

After the game, Freundlich summarized what his coach told the team.

“He was disappointed,” Freundlich said.

It was a tough loss. South Whidbey’s three co-captains wanted to redeem the team from last season’s losses to Coupeville. Losing again to Coupeville, the captains said, was salt on the wound.

“It sucks,” Freundlich said. “Hopefully we play better when they’re in our house.”

Russell qualified the impact of the game and put it into a broader scope.

“It stings a little bit more, but a loss is a loss,” Russell said.

“All the teams are good this year,” Russell added. “It’s going to be a toss-up for first place.”

South Whidbey is on spring break from April 4 to April 8, but the soccer team didn’t take any breaks with a practice on Monday. Freundlich said the team has to, and will, be ready.

“We have to play as a whole unit,” Freundlich said. “Everyone has to attack and everyone has to defend.”

 

 

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