Falcons’ soccer season ends short

The girls are hanging up their soccer uniforms early this season.

After making it to the 2A state title game in 2003, the 2004 South Whidbey High School Falcons are having to settle for a little less, including the season’s 10-5 conference record. The team was dealt a tough hand in the form of a cross-over playoff game Thursday against Wesco South runner-up Shorecrest, which blanked the Falcons 3-0 on the doorstep of the district tournament.

Two days earlier, South Whidbey’s regular season had ended on a high note when the team downed Sultan 2-0 last Tuesday for the second time this season.

The Falcons and Turks battled it out for nearly a half-an-hour before anyone could make the scoreboard. Junior midfielder Katie Watson scored the Falcon’s first goal of the evening with 11 minutes left in the first half. Off a corner kick by junior forward Jenna Wild, Watson shot once on the Turk goal, picked up her own rebound, then fired another ball that just crossed the goal line. When a Sultan player attempted to push the ball back over the line, game officials picked up on the sleight of hand and gave the goal to Watson and the Falcons.

With about a minute left in the first half, Wild scored on a penalty kick following a hand-ball by Sultan in the Turks’ own 18-yard-box.

The Falcons headed into half time with a 2-0 lead and worked the second half to maintain the lead and go for icing on the winning cake. They went on to out shoot the Turks 12-4.

“They were a tough team that kept a lot of pressure on us, but we had a few more offensive weapons than they did,” said team coach Paul Arand said.

Unfortunately, the Falcons couldn’t capitalize on the momentum of last Tuesday’s win. Though they were able to hold the Highlanders off for close to 30 minutes, Shorecrest eventually cracked the South Whidbey defense.

Both teams pushed their defensive lines up the field, allowing long-ball clears by either team to be a threat. But in a game of quick thought and quick movement, the Falcons couldn’t keep up.

“Many times there was a crowd in front of their goal and we just weren’t quick enough to work it through,” Arand said. “The (artificial) turf definitely was a factor in Shorecrest’s ability to keep possession.”

South Whidbey was down 2-0 going into the second half.

Shorecrest put the game away on a high lofting ball from 40 yards out that just ducked under the Falcon crossbar to make it past a diving punch by senior goalkeeper Allyson Riggs.

The loss ended the Falcons’ season at 10-6 overall. Throughout the season, Arand said he witnessed numerous milestones of achievement by his players.

“This season the girls have gained confidence in possessing the ball and become a better passing team,” he said. “In a sense, this was a rebuilding year after losing eight seniors.”

The Falcons scored 39 goals on the season. Leading the offense was junior forward Jenna Wild with 12 goals, junior midfielder Katie Watson with eight, sophomore midfielder Kelsey Kimmel with eight, junior forward Nicole Falso and freshman forward Martha Rocio Gil-Osorio with three each, and junior midfielder Kaylee Baldwin with two.

The Falcons lose graduating goalkeepers Ashley Cotton and Allyson Riggs to graduation this year. Both helped man the net during the Falcon’s 21-1 run to place second at the state 2A tournament last year.

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