Soccer girls generate big stats

Freshman defender Rita Jones takes one of her rare shots on goal early this season. She was part of a defensive line that helped take the Falcons to their best season record ever. - Matt Johnson
Freshman defender Rita Jones takes one of her rare shots on goal early this season. She was part of a defensive line that helped take the Falcons to their best season record ever.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

The statistics are finally tallied and they show that the South Whidbey High School girls soccer team had a big year.

Though they fell victim to two straight playoff losses in shootouts last week and were stopped short of making their third state appearance in a row, the Falcons posted their best season record ever (13-4) and outscored opponents by a total of 53-18. They made the total by peppering opposing goalkeepers with shots while protecting their own net. Over the course of the season, the Falcons outshot opposing teams 248-170.

The team's top scorer this year was freshman Jenna Wild, who ended the season with a total of 14. Other top scorers were junior Claudia Gil-Osorio with seven, junior Lena Ishii with six, senior Amy Barrow with five and freshman Katie Watson with five.

Gil-Osorio's total came after being injured most of the season and after spending her sophomore season running cross country.

Wild and junior Natalie Schmidt led in penalty kicks, scoring four each to help keep their team in more than half a dozen overtime shootouts during the season.

Leading the team in assists was senior newcomer Tanya Smart. She notched seven assists in addition to scoring three goals of her own.

When it came to protecting South Whidbey's goal, sophomore Allyson Riggs was it. Taking over the job from senior Kellie Horn, Riggs faced all but three shots against the Falcon net this season. She made 54 saves, faced 167 shots and allowed just 18 goals over 17 regular season and three playoff games. In shootouts, she had a high save percentage, allowing only 11 of 19 penalty kicks past her hands on the way to the net.

Keeping more shots from reaching the net was the team's defensive corps of Kim Julius, Rita Jones, Taryn Langlois, Michelle Schorr and Willa Purser. Falcon coach Paul Arand said they did a "great job" all season.

JV has 14-1 season

As impressive was the Falcon junior varsity team. Though they had a slimmer shooting advantage over opponents, 154-123, the JV girls rolled to a 14-1 record on the year. Three players -- freshman Jessica Burgess, sophomore Kim Applebee and junior Liz Jeffers -- scored in double figures to take the team to a 63-goal total. Burgess was the team leader with 14, a surprising total considering that she only took 15 shots at the goal all season. Jeffers, who scored 13 goals, was the team's shot leader with 42.

On the other side of the equation, Falcon goalkeepers kept their team out of trouble. Sophomore Ashley Cotton did most of the net tending, making 113 saves on the season. Freshman Celean Breitenstein backed her up, making eight saves.

The statistics and the team's success convinced North Cascades Conference coaches to name a number of Falcons to their list of top players. Making first-team all conference from South Whidbey were Tanya Smart, Katie Watson and Jenna Wild. Rita Jones, Natalie Schmidt and Allyson Riggs were named to the second team, while Claudia Gil-Osorio, Kim Julius and Michelle Schorr were honorable mentions in the selection.

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