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Offense overpowers Friday Harbor, Mount Baker in girls soccer wins
South Whidbey’s girls soccer team is two steps closer to improving last season’s dismal 2-12 record after defeating Friday Harbor and Mount Baker.
On Saturday against Mount Baker, the Falcons overcame the Mountaineers 2-0 on goals from freshman outside midfielder Samantha Baldwin.
Her goals came on polar ends of the clock.
The first score was early in the first half as she broke free down the side; the second mirrored the first, only late in the second half.
“She’s a real good freshman who plays club over town,” said South Whidbey head coach Ben Rusch. “She was working real hard all game and basically ran the other team down.”
For the second game in a row, South Whidbey’s defense played a shutout. Conditioning was a point of emphasis for Rusch during the summer and the preseason, and it paid off as the Mountaineers struggled to keep pace with the Falcons’ forwards and mids. Keeping the ball on Mount Baker’s half of the field allowed the defense to be well rested when the ball came their way.
“Everyone held their shape and position so well,” Rusch said.
Getting the first win was a good start for Rusch. At the season’s first game against Friday Harbor, South Whidbey won 2-0.
“We, during the preseason, have been working on a winning mentality,” Rusch said.
“They were really excited, they were really upbeat. I thought it was a good first game.”
Falcons junior Lindsey Grimm scored the first goal in the first half. Playing outside midfielder, Grimm chased down a loose ball near the halfway line for a breakaway goal. Her speed and aggressiveness moved her from goalkeeper last season to midfielder, forward and defender this season.
“She really can play anywhere on the field,” Rusch said.
Makenzie Peterson scored the second goal.
Teammate junior Paige Farmer stole the ball and played it inside, passed to another midfielder then dropped the ball to Peterson, a senior co-captain and center midfielder, for the score.
In the second half, the Falcons defense kept the Wolverines away from junior keeper Ellie Greene, which Rusch said limited her saves to only a few.
“For the most part, our defense held Friday Harbor outside our side of the field,” Rusch said.
Friday Harbor’s best opportunity came on a penalty kick, which the Wolverine player missed wide.
Senior defenders Brianna Haimes and Amanda Lutsock were crucial to stopping the Wolverines’ offense and maintaining the shutout.
“They control the defense and when a ball crosses over midfield they deal with it quickly,” Rusch said. “They make the challenge hard so they make the player not want to come back again.”
With the first win over, Rusch reflected upon the efforts his team put into practice.
“It feels pretty good to know that what we’re doing out at practice is getting through to the girls and they’re implementing it on the field,” he said.
The Cascade Conference season opener for the Falcons was an away game against Granite Falls (1 win, 0 draws, 1 loss) on Tuesday.
South Whidbey’s conference home opener against Sultan (0-0-1) is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15.