Sports

Strikers strike back

Sophomore Ben Walker takes the ball into striking range before lining up to make the Falcons
Sophomore Ben Walker takes the ball into striking range before lining up to make the Falcons' second goal of the day Saturday.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

It had to be frustrating to play soccer for Meridian High School Saturday afternoon. Any time a soccer team loses 5-1, frustration tends to be a factor.

Down 1-0 to South Whidbey and having been pinned in their own zone for the better part of 30 minutes at Waterman Field, the Trojans were starting to get desperate. First, late in the first half, a Meridian defender put a blatant body check on senior striker Adam Jaffe as he made one of what seemed like one of 100 right-side charges into Meridian territory on the day. The move got Jaffe off the ball, but drew a penalty call and shouts from the Falcons.

A few minutes later a legal, but savage-looking tackle that took sophomore Kevin Dunigan down within kicking range of the Meridian seemed to be the last straw for South Whidbey. With one minute remaining in the half, Falcon midfielder Ben Walker picked up a pass from Jaffe almost exactly where Dunigan had been taken out and fired revenge into the net.

From there, the game was pretty much all South Whidbey, in a way the team's coach had been hoping to see all season.

"This was probably the best they've played to date," said coach Fran Einterz of his 3-3 team. "The kids were working as a team."

Snappy passing and repeated two-touch shots at the Meridian net -- many of which were engineered by Jaffe, who had two goals and an assist on the day -- made the Falcons unflinchingly solid on offense. After getting their first point on the board in the 30th minute of the game off a tip-in by junior Spencer Buckman and their second from Walker, the Falcons pounded the Trojans in their own end for the remainder of the game.

Four minutes after the Trojans got their only goal of the game on what Einterz called a "series of mistakes" by the otherwise impenetrable South Whidbey defense, Jaffe scored solo in the 58th minute. He did it again a few minute later, then got to spectate in the 74th minute when sophomore Connor Adams headed one more insurance goal into the net off a neat, over-the-head kick by Ben Walker.

Einterz gave additional credit for the win both to his senior goalkeeper, Joe Gunn, and senior sweeper, Jasper Hein, who ran down what few Trojan incursions the offense and midfielders allowed into the South Whidbey zone.

The Falcons play at home Saturday against Mount Baker. The 2 p.m. meeting will be the first of the season between the Falcons and Mountaineers.

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