Pivotal 1A South Whidbey match ends in draw

Falcon junior Kai da Rosa tries to stop a pass by King’s junior midfielder Svenn Helleren in the first half on April 16 at Woolsey Stadium in Shoreline.  - Ben Watanabe / The Record
Falcon junior Kai da Rosa tries to stop a pass by King’s junior midfielder Svenn Helleren in the first half on April 16 at Woolsey Stadium in Shoreline.
— image credit: Ben Watanabe / The Record

Nasty play matched the nasty weather in a battle for 1A playoff positioning between the South Whidbey and King’s boys soccer teams Wednesday night.

And it was all for naught as the game ended in a double overtime 1-1 draw. South Whidbey holds the tiebreaker because the Falcons won the first match 2-1.

“It’s definitely better than a loss,” said Falcon senior co-captain Trey Adams.

Through a consistently soggy soccer match, the Falcons struck first. Andy Zisette took the ball down the right sideline and crossed it into the Knights’ penalty area. Falcon junior Kai da Rosa tried to strike the ball, but the synthetic turf sent the ball bouncing higher than he anticipated and it rolled by him. Toward the left post, Falcon junior Kameron Donohoe got the ball, faked a shot and tapped it behind him to teammate Jeff Meier for a shot on goal that was deflected right to da Rosa for a goal in the sixth minute.

“We came out on fire on that first goal,” Adams said. “I was super happy because this game is extremely important for our playoff seeding and even getting in the playoffs.”

King’s was quick to answer. A few minutes later, the Knights took a free kick about 30 yards out from the Falcons’ goal. The high, lofted pass reached Josh Alexander who headed the ball for the tying — and final — score of the 90-minute match.

Both coaching staffs voiced their displeasure with the officiating and the physical play on the field. Players from both teams were pulled to the turf with audible thuds, feet clashed, torsos collided and not a single card was issued.

Few people were as vocal with their discontent as da Rosa, who chided the referees for failing to protect him from being thrown to the turf.

“Not a lot of calls went our way,” Adams said. “We always come into a fistfight with King’s, so I was expecting that.”

After a diving save by Falcon goalie Charlie Stelling in the 47th minute, the second half was largely a stalemate with missed shots for both teams. As regulation time waned, South Whidbey seemed to gain momentum with a few shots on goal that were deflected and stopped.

South Whidbey also benefited from the field’s slick condition. Late in the match, Knight senior Taylor Moe had a one-on-one with Stelling who had stepped away from the goal to stop the ball before Moe could reach it. Stelling missed the ball, and Moe took a shot at a wide-open goal that missed to the left.

“I was getting very, very nervous,” said Adams of the match, which drudged up memories of South Whidbey’s shootout loss to Cascade Christian in last year’s 1A tri-district tournament at King’s Woolsey Stadium.

In the two, five-minute overtime periods, King’s attempted two shots on goal that both sailed over the crossbar.

“It was a good experience to go into overtime, to have that experience going into, hopefully, playoffs,” Adams said.

The tie set up a pivotal match on Friday, April 18, against island rival Coupeville, the third 1A team in the Cascade Conference. Only the top two advance to the District 1 playoffs, with South Whidbey sitting a game ahead of King’s and two ahead of Coupeville.

“It puts a lot on the game on Friday,” Adams said. “King’s also has another game with Coupeville. If somehow we aren’t able to pull that game out against Coupeville, it puts us in a tough position. … We want revenge.”


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