Kickers soar in wins

South Whidbey freshman Kaylee Baldwin gains control of the ball in the first half of Tuesday
South Whidbey freshman Kaylee Baldwin gains control of the ball in the first half of Tuesday's soccer game against Mount Baker. Baldwin went on to score the first Falcon goal of the night moments later.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

A weekend blowout and two tight, 2-1 games during the week have established South Whidbey' as one of the best soccer teams in the North Cascades Conference.

Though short a number of top players due to injury or illness, the Falcons pounded Granite Falls 6-0 in an away game Saturday, then came home Tuesday and traveled Thursday to beat both Mount Baker and Blaine on 2-1 scores.

Thursday's contest with Blaine was the closest and most surprising of the week. Down 1-0 after a second-half score by the Borderites, the Falcons seemed to have little time to come back. But with two minutes to go in regulation, Lucy Brennan handled a pass from Tanya Smart that blooped through the defense near the Blaine goal and popped it into the net to tie the score.

Having built their record to 4 and 2 on wins earlier in the week, South Whidbey suddenly had a chance to share second place in the NCC with the 4-1 Mountaineers. While two overtime periods didn't get them there, a shootout did. Natalie Schmidt, Smart, Jenna Wild and Amy Barrow put away four straight free shots as Falcon goalkeeper Allyson Riggs made two saves against Blaine shooters, icing the game for the Falcons.

Falcon coach Paul Arand said the win came as a big surprise to Blaine's players and coaches.

"I think Blaine thought they had it won," he said.

The week's wins came as a bit of a surprise to South Whidbey as well. With varsity performers Claudia Gil-Osorio, Kellie Horn and Katie Watson hurt and on the bench Thursday, and five players sitting out Tuesday's game against Mount Baker, the holes in the Falcon roster were not good news.

Working around those holes Tuesday was a slow-starting but fast-finishing offense built out of former defenders and players pulled off the bench and from the junior varsity team. After falling behind by a goal early against the Mountainers, the Falcons tied the score in the 38th minute of the 80-minute match when Kaylee Baldwin sent home a high crossing pass from Kim Julius.

Junior Lena Ishii finished the game in the 55th minute with a 20-yard scoring shot recycled off an Amy Barrow ricochet.

After that, goalkeeper Riggs protected the lead with several diving saves. Doing defensive duty in zfront of the goal were Kim Julius, Michelle Schorr, Dannette Waterman and Taryn Langlois.

The Mountaineers were lucky the score against them wasn't higher. The Falcons made 30 shots on goal during the game, compared to Mount Baker's 14. Ishii and Watson led the shooting, with seven goal shots each.

In junior varsity action, the Falcons moved to 5-0 against Mount Baker, winning 3-0 on two Jessica Burgess scores and one by Katie Roemer.

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