Falcon girls shot out of state run

On Saturday, the best season of South Whidbey High School girls soccer ended the hard way.

In a loser-out game against Blaine for the chance to go to the state tournament for the third year in a row, the Falcons took their season to the most dangerous place possible: a shootout.

For the sixth time this year, the offensively prolific Falcons could not put the game away in regulation minutes or overtime. Despite a 21-9 shot advantage over 90 minutes of scoreless soccer, South Whidbey had to put its 13-4 season on the line in a battle of free kicks at Bellingham's Municipal Stadium.

In this, the third shootout in three games, the Falcons had trouble keeping control over their shots and lost to the Borderites three shots to one. Sophomore goalkeeper Allyson Riggs blocked one Blaine shot to start the shootout, but was then outmaneuvered as three more players got the ball past her.

Normally, that one blocked shot would have been enough.

"Generally, if she can block one shot, we can win," said Falcon coach Paul Arand.

But on the other end of the field, three South Whidbey shots went wide of the goal -- as they did during the team's loss last Tuesday to Meridian -- and one goal by freshman Jenna Wild was not enough to keep the team in the game.

During regulation, the Falcons had their main offensive weapon of late, junior striker Claudia Gil-Osorio, shut down by double and triple coverage throughout.

Arand said he was surprised to see the season come to an end so quickly. After beating out Meridian for second place in the North Cascades Conference in a tiebreaker game on Oct. 31, the Falcons lost by the same method they had profited.

The team had hoped to make a run for the state title game or, at least, a top-eight state finish, as the players earned in 2001. Seniors Amy Barrow, Michelle Schorr, Danette Waterman and Kellie Horn, all of whom played on the varsity team in 2000 when South Whidbey placed third in the state, now leave the team without qualifying in their final year. Also missing out on state play is first-year Falcon senior Tanya Smart.

Arand said his team will be back in the hunt next year, as five freshmen who played on the varsity team, along with several sophomores and juniors, get a year older and stronger.

"There's a lot of promise in the players remaining on the team," he said.

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