Sports

Falcons circle the wagons against Pioneers

Ethan Low maintains his composure surrounded by Nooksack players Saturday. The Falcons blanked the Pioneers 4-0 with a balanced attack and precision kicking. - Jeff VanDerford
Ethan Low maintains his composure surrounded by Nooksack players Saturday. The Falcons blanked the Pioneers 4-0 with a balanced attack and precision kicking.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

A cold, blustery wind blew across Waterman Field Saturday, perfect weather for a Falcon boys soccer blowout as South Whidbey beat Nooksack 4-0.

The South Whidbey boys now lead the Cascade Conference at 2-0, and 4-1-1 overall.

“It was a great game, fun to watch,” said first-year Falcon coach Joel Gerlach. “We kept possession pretty much the whole way and spread our goals out with some degree of precision.”

It doesn’t hurt that the squad has 12 seniors providing leadership.

Engulfed by a swarm of Pioneers, Robbie Bailey scored with 20 minutes left in the first half, then Duncan Adams added a goal three minutes later.

In the second period, Oliver Shafaat and John Gerlach wrapped things up.

Though he normally is the team’s goalie, Shafaat enjoyed himself on the field.

“It’s always good to play,” he said. “We’re doing really well this year for a mixture of reasons; good coaching, experienced players and growing confidence equal wins. It’s all coming together.”

The coach understands it’s early in the season, but he’s encouraged by what he sees so far.

“Our defense played great today,” Gerlach said. “We had three big seniors back there, which is why we’re such a strong team in our conference. Nooksack was composed for a young team but we were able to overpower them and Alex [McGlenn] got his second shutout at goalkeeper.”

Helping keep the ball out of the net were senior defenders Ben Rusch, Richard McLean and Nate Goodman — who had two assists on the day — and they were a critical key to the win, according to Gerlach.

Senior Kypher Koska was pleased with the team’s performance.

“Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. Though we were able to punch through and put a couple through the net in the first half, Nooksack didn’t give up,” Koska said.

Koska added he thinks the Falcons are coming into their own.

“I have a good feel for the overall balance and character of our guys,” he said.

Not every contest is easy. After a 3-1 whipping of Lakewood, on April 6 the boys fought league opponent Archbishop Murphy to a scoreless tie after two overtimes. “It was a great effort by Oliver at the net. His skill level continues to improve, game by game,”

Gerlach noted.

Yesterday’s game with Cedarcrest heralded the beginning of league play in earnest. The team travels to Sultan, Granite Falls and Lakewood before hosting ATM April 25.

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