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Winless week against top teams marks midseason for Falcon soccer
EVERETT — The rain held out for the girls soccer match between South Whidbey and Archbishop Murphy.
That didn’t stop the Wildcats from pouring in eight goals on Saturday.
It was a tough week for the South Whidbey girls soccer team.
First, the Falcons were shut out by Cedarcrest 0-4 on Tuesday and lost junior midfielder Paige Farmer to a calf injury.
Then South Whidbey lost an early one-goal lead to King’s, which scored three straight goals to beat the Falcons on Thursday.
Finally, the week ended with an 0-8 loss to Archbishop Murphy on Saturday.
“I think they’re doing a good job,” said Falcons head coach Ben Rusch, “even if they don’t notice it.”
That’s one Falcon goal in three games, and two goals in the past five games.
Six different players scored for Archbishop Murphy at Terry Ennis Stadium in Everett.
The Wildcats led 5-0 at halftime. Wildcats junior midfielder scored first on an assist from sophomore Cecilia Nguyen in the 10th minute. Senior midfielder Kelly Gould scored in the 13th and the 25th minutes, the first on a cross and the second on a penalty kick from 15 yards out that tipped Falcons goalkeeper Ellie Greene’s outstretched fingers and went in.
Wildcats sophomore mid Calisse Crisler scored in the 24th as she passed Greene about 15-yards from the goal. Senior forward Tasha Pabisz scored on a floater that sailed over Greene’s head and into the net in the 27th minute.
“Their attacking players were just too good for our defensive players,” Rusch said. “We had the right idea, we were playing the right positions. Their players have been playing premier league ball for 16 years.”
Greene had six saves in the first half for the Falcons and finished the game with nine saves. She may be a junior, but this is her first season on the high school team.
“Ellie played great,” Rusch said. “She’s still learning a little bit, as far as when to come off the line.”
The Wildcats began the second half with a flurry of shots on goal. Senior Kortney Yant broke through the defense before she was stopped by Jaime Rodden and lost possession.
Wildcats senior forward Jessica Ficklin scored on a penalty kick in the 51st minute about 15 yards out that rolled by Greene as she dove left to stop it.
Falcons senior defender Brianna Haimes took a penalty kick from 30 yards out that Wildcats junior keeper Anna Whitehouse caught. That was South Whidbey’s best opportunity to score as the Falcons were limited to two shots on goal — both in the second half.
“A lot of it is Archbishop,” Rusch said. “Athletically they are stronger, taller, bigger, faster.”
Ficklin scored again in the 62nd minute on a high kick over Greene as she came off her line to stop Ficklin. Yant was the final scorer in the 65th minute as she passed Rodden and hit a cross to the right corner.
“My description of the game was flat soda pop,” Rusch said. “It was the flattest game I’ve ever seen.”
Against King’s, South Whidbey scored in the 10th minute. Senior midfielder Cortney Fredriksen broke through the Knights’ defense for a one-on-one goal against King’s keeper.
“When we scored on them, I knew the rest of the game was going to be real stressful,” Rusch said.
A series of mistakes and defensive lapses cost the Falcons the lead around the 25th minute. Within a few minutes, the Knights had scored three goals.
“That’s really all it takes,” Rusch said. “And then that happens.”
King’s and South Whidbey had similar records (2-3-0) in Cascade Conference games before Thursday’s match. Last year, the Knights scored 15 goals against the Falcons.
Against a new Knights team, and with the Falcons’ new coach, the outcome was anyone’s guess.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Rusch said. “I knew it was going to be a tough game.”
With Farmer unavailable because of a calf injury, Fredriksen was able to play offense more. Playing the center line in Fredriksen’s place was sophomore midfielder Maddie Boyd.
Farmer’s return date is uncertain. Farmer, however, said she would play again this season.
“Farmer is a big help to the offense,” Rusch said. “She works a lot and she’s real aggressive. Cortney is really good, too. She worked hard and it paid off against King’s and she got herself a goal.”
Neither team scored in the second half. Rusch said he kept the team’s lineup the same as the first half, and had the Falcons stick to the same plan.
A contest earlier in the week had a different story, with a similar outcome.
Cedarcrest beat South Whidbey 4-0 on Tuesday. The Red Wolves were led by Maggie Pleis, who scored three goals.
“They have some of the best players in the state on their team,” Rusch said. “I think they’re all premier D-I players.”
South Whidbey’s offense suffered against a stifling, physical defense from Cedarcrest.
“It’s hard to generate an offense against that team because they’re in your face,” Rusch said.
South Whidbey began the second half of the season Tuesday against Granite Falls. The Tigers beat the Falcons in Granite Falls to begin Cascade Conference games 4-0 in September. One of the team’s senior midfielders, Makenzie Peterson, missed the first contest, and Rusch thinks her presence combined with a more experienced team will lead to a different outcome.
“We can beat Granite Falls,” Rusch said. “I can’t say that any clearer.”