Falcon soccer squad sinks Port Townsend

What’s wrong with a couple of cookies for the conquered?

The Falcon boys soccer team celebrated by defeating Port Townsend 3-2 in their home opener. The Redskins were not amused even when the boys offered them Girl Scout cookies as a consolation prize.

Defense was key in the first half as goalie Oliver Shafaat and sweeper Ben Rusch managed to prevent Port Townsend from scoring.

But, then, they did the same to the Falcons.

As one player after another moved the ball toward the Redskin’s goal, they tried for the point instead of getting it to a teammate with a better chance.

At the break, Falcon Coach Joel Gerlach told his squad to think more as a team.

“You are working well, moving the ball but your passing game needs improvement,” he said.

“Yeah, we were a little bit slow in the first half,” co-captain Kypher Koska admitted. “But the guys changed their mindset at some point and started to score.”

First was John Gerlach with 36.31 minutes left in the second half.

The energized Redskins roared back when one was fouled inside the 18-yard box and offered a free penalty kick; he was able to score just outside Shafaat’s outstretched arms, a close-run shot.

Shafaat was clearly disappointed but picked himself up and, encouraged by his teammates, played very well.

“Oliver’s overall composure was outstanding,” Gerlach said. “He communicated with our defenders and made some good saves. Hey, teams are going to score; we just have to score more.”

One of those defenders is sweeper Ben Rusch. “It was a good win for us, a good foundation on which to build,” he said. “They played mediocre soccer and our level of play was higher than theirs.”

Port Townsend scored again on an inside boot but Koska tied it up on a header from Dino Michaelides.

“I made a run down the side when Dino passed the ball to me,” Koska recalled. “One of their guys overran and I got it in. That was fun.”

Port Townsend is considered a soccer power and even a tie score would be something of a Falcon victory.

South Whidbey would have none of it — tearing down the field with less than a minute left, Ethan Low fired the winning goal into the lower left of the net and that was the way the cookie crumbled.

“They showed a lot of heart out there, with the sheer determination to maintain the energy and focus needed for victory,” Gerlach said.

Son John concurred. “I’ve been playing forever. This game keeps us in shape, let’s us hang out with friends and is great fun. What more could you want?”

Saturday, the team travels to Meridian and doesn’t have another home stand until March 28 when Granite Falls comes to town.

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