Falcon girls soccer ties Oak Harbor

The Falcon girls soccer team’s first game went about as well as head coach Ben Rusch could have imagined.John Fisken photo | Falcon senior goalie Ellie Greene leaps for a save against Oak Harbor on Tuesday. The keeper’s saves held on long enough for a 1-1 tie.

South Whidbey’s defense held its shape and kept the ball away from goalkeeper Ellie Greene. The Falcons’ offense controlled the ball well, passed effectively and pressured the Oak Harbor Wildcats for a late goal and a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

In the first game of the season, the revamped Falcons showed their coach what he expected during the first week of practices. The Falcons played like they practiced — in control, aggressive and united — especially center midfielders Hayley Newman, Maia Sparkman and Olivia Bolding.

“As far as the way the overall game went, I was really pleased,” Rusch said.

First-time Falcon Katie Sibley, a junior, was substituted into the game around the 60-minute mark. As the Falcons pressured the Wildcats’ defense, looking for a scoring opportunity, Sibley found herself at the right place at the right time for a quick score.

“She played hard,” Rusch said. “The ball dropped one time and she struck it with her foot and it went over the keeper.”

Wildcat Lauryn Plush scored the first goal of the night on a cross that sailed over Greene’s save attempt.

Late in the match, the Falcons had a corner kick that the Wildcats cleared. Sibley was there for the loose ball and booted it past the Wildcat goalie.

South Whidbey’s offense worked effectively in its first match. Heading into the first Cascade Conference match on the road against King’s, the Falcon coach struggled to find playing time for a “more balanced” squad than last year’s.

“I know it’s going to be hard to get everybody time, but it’s exciting to see the level of commitment,” Rusch said.

“Now we’re just working on the offense some more, fine-tuning and becoming more dangerous.”


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