Sports

Falcon soccer: out front

Claudia Gil-Osorio, the leading scorer for South Whidbey, turns on the gas as she goes by Blaine defender Krista Francis and heads for the Blaine goal Thursday night. - Matt Johnson
Claudia Gil-Osorio, the leading scorer for South Whidbey, turns on the gas as she goes by Blaine defender Krista Francis and heads for the Blaine goal Thursday night.
— image credit: Matt Johnson

It took only 75 seconds to win a soccer game Thursday night, but something over 78 minutes to seal the deal.

Taking a high, right-side crossing shot from sophomore Jenna Wild, South Whidbey forward Claudia Gil-Osorio beat the best goalkeeper in the North Cascades Conference when she nailed a header into Blaine’s net in the first two minutes of a Waterman Field showdown between the Falcons and Borderites.

The score — the first of two — would turn out to be the winning goal in what was the Falcons’ fifth shutout in a row. But as that 2-0 result and a 1-0 shootout victory over Mount Baker Tuesday show, it’s getting more and more difficult for even the best team to win a game in this season’s toughening NCC.

Now 7-0 and leading last year’s conference champ Sultan by four points in the standings, the Falcons are — despite the tight scores — playing like the best team in the state. Against the Borderites, South Whidbey had a tough nut to crack. After Gil-Osorio’s goal against Blaine goalkeeper Sheila Robertson — who was voted the 2002 NCC goalie of the year — South Whidbey had to wait almost an hour before seeing open net again.

Setting a torrid pace on offense, the Falcons essentially played the entire game in Blaine’s end, outshooting the Borderites 26-4. Though Blaine fended off most of the attacks, sophomore Katie Watson helped push one through to the end when she made a neat pass to Falcon sophomore Jenna Wild, who nailed the insurance goal in the 60th minute.

Watson was part of a group of midfielders who acted like the lid on a pressure cooker. She, Anna Gilles, Kaylee Baldwin, Lucy Brennan, Liz Jeffers and Britt Hansen didn’t let much get past them and joined the strikers repeatedly on rushes for the Blaine goal.

The few Blaine forays that made it into Falcon territory fizzled against the defenders. The closest the Borderites came to putting points on came in the second half when an out-of-position Ashley Cotton left the South Whidbey goal open. However, sophomore Rita Jones was able to rush in and boot the ball back to midfield.

Tuesday’s win at Mount Baker came down to a shootout. After losing a shootout at Mount Baker last year, the Falcons had something to prove, which they did with Gil-Osorio, Wild and Watson all scoring to earn the 1-0 victory.

Falcon coach Paul Arand said his team played most of the game in the Mountaineer’s end, but couldn’t get a break at the goal.

“There were a lot of opportunities,” he said.

Also maintaining their perfect record this week was the Falcon junior varsity. The team beat Mount Baker, then came home Thursday to win 3-0 to take its record to 7-0.

Next up for the Falcons are road games next Thursday and Saturday against Lakewood and Meridian.

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