Sports

Falcons start season with a victory over Wolverines

Falcon Felipe Marmolejo, right, has a close encounter with Friday Harbor’s Kevin O’Conner during Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Wolverines. At 6 p.m. Friday, March 14, the team hosts Bonney Lake at Waterman Field. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon Felipe Marmolejo, right, has a close encounter with Friday Harbor’s Kevin O’Conner during Saturday’s 3-0 win over the Wolverines. At 6 p.m. Friday, March 14, the team hosts Bonney Lake at Waterman Field.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

Setting a goal is one thing; meeting it is quite another.

So when the Falcon boys soccer team celebrated the season’s start by beating Friday Harbor 3-0 Saturday, they met Goal 1 — win their first game.

They did it with verve and smooth execution while taking advantage of their opponent’s slow start out of the gate.

Friday Harbor took the loss as a learning experience. Competing against a larger school offers several advantages, Wolverine coach Andy Duke said.

“Playing the Falcons on their field forces our guys to play a tougher opponent than we might find in our own league,” he said. “We had a great game last year when they traveled north.”

It was quickly apparent the Falcons were in the hunt for goals — Cole Erikson scored with a lazy, soft arcing kick that bounced off the far post and went in with 38:07 left in the first half.

South Whidbey appeared steady, confident and poised in their first game, especially when Marshall Banks scored to make it 2-0 a few minutes later.

But then the Wolverines, led by Louis Paul and Felipe Lopez, toughened up their stance for a solid defensive performance until, with 10 seconds left in the game, Falcon Patrick Myatt sewed up scoring with a sneak attack from the left for a curving rounder into the pocket.

“Friday Harbor played very well, you have to give them credit,” Falcon coach Joel Gerlach said. “They’ve improved a lot since last year, but we had some ambitious young men who made the most of their opportunities.”

Needing 10 practices before the first game, five South Whidbey starters were prevented by school rules from playing.

Gerlach’s only concern was getting more shot attempts.

“It was a learning time for both teams and a chance for us to see how well we could do against an aggressive team like the Wolverines,” he said.

Assistant coach Dimitri Michaelides agreed, noting the difficulties playing on a smaller than normal venue; Waterman Field is roughly 8 percent shorter in length and 10 percent less in width than a standard soccer layout.

“However there were some moments of great play,” he said. “Goalies Ian Marsanyi and Dylan Fate never let anything get past them.”

In fact, both were awfully quick off the mark, allowing a faster transition to the offense.

“We thought we played well; a good first outing,” Fate said. “We had to force ourselves to slow down a bit so the pace worked for the way we play the game.”

In the second period, Fate was assigned a midfield slot. “I want to try a little bit of everything this year,” he said.

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