Overtime goal sends South Whidbey soccer to next round of playoffs

Despite a near 60-minute lull in regulation play, the South Whidbey boys soccer team scored when it mattered in a 2-1 overtime win at Meridian.

The Falcons needed an 83rd minute goal from junior striker Kai da Rosa to secure a spot in next week’s 1A tri-district tournament. Which seed South Whidbey ends up with remained to be determined based on results from a match against the District 1 top-seeded Mount Baker squad (6-10-1 overall) on Friday, after The Record went to press.

“It was nice to get past that,” said Falcon co-head coach Emerson “Skip” Robbins. “I hate that first game — loser out — so much pressure.”

Despite having a better record, South Whidbey had to travel to Meridian (4-13-0 overall) on May 7. For the first 10 minutes, Robbins said the Falcons looked like they would cruise through the match as they took a 1-0 lead on a goal by junior Andy Zisette off a deflected shot.

Meridian answered with a goal near the end of the first half to tie the game.

Out of the halftime break, South Whidbey continued to have problems passing and moving the ball upfield to its forward and outside midfielders. Robbins said the Trojans appeared to have his team scouted out, and were always aware of where da Rosa was on the field.

“They had Kai wrapped up tight,” Robbins said. “Sometimes they had three guys on him. And we still tried to send the ball centrally too much.”

Eventually, that play worked, albeit in the sudden death, five-minute overtime when da Rosa knocked in a deflection for the game-ending goal.

“Kai’s in the mix always,” Robbins said. “He doesn’t give up.”

South Whidbey’s simplest path to the state tournament hinged on beating Mount Baker and winning the first-place match on Saturday. Out of the tri-district tournament featuring 10 teams, the top six qualify for the 1A state tournament, and the top-seeded team from District 1 only plays one match May 17 in the tri-district championship game.


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