A whirlwind final two minutes yielded two goals for the South Whidbey boys soccer team in the 1A soccer tournament Saturday, though it was not enough to beat Quincy.
The Quincy Jacks scored in the second minute of overtime and stunned the surging South Whidbey Falcons, who were eliminated from the state championship with a 3-2 loss.
“What a finish,” said Jacks head coach Arturo Guerrero. “I would never have imagined we could allow two goals like that.”
“That team gave us everything we could handle,” he added.
Such a close score was deceiving. Quincy controlled the score nearly the entire match. For 78 minutes, Quincy led and looked like it would roll onto the semifinal round without allowing a goal.
But the Falcons moved 10 players past midfield to attempt a spark on offense in the final five minutes of regulation play. With two minutes left, Falcon junior Andy Zisette took the ball to the right post, drew out Jacks keeper Gildardo Avila and tapped it past him for the first South Whidbey goal.
Lighting a fire for the Falcons, South Whidbey’s players beat the Jacks to the ball and passed more accurately. It resulted in a stoppage time, 80th-minute header goal by junior Bryce Auburn, that tied the game with seconds remaining.
“Yesterday we made the decision to push me because we felt like we needed more numbers in the box,” said Auburn, who scored his first goal of the season. “It just so happens I got one the next day.”
Having just scored two goals in two minutes, momentum appeared to have swung in South Whidbey’s favor.
In the “golden goal” sudden-death overtime period, Jacks sophomore Francisco Alejandrez took a shot that Falcon goalie Charley Stelling saved. But the ball bounced out toward the 18-yard line, where Falcon sophomore Lucas Leiberman tried to receive it from the air. Jacks players crashed into him, and the ball went loose. Several Falcons yelled for a foul call, but no whistle was blown.
Alejandrez took the ball to his right and fired it into the back corner of the net for the game-winning goal and his third of the match.
“No one marked him,” said Falcon senior co-captain Trey Adams. “We kind of let that happen, I’d say.”
For a few minutes after the match, several Falcons argued with the referees about the no-call, and both co-head coaches spoke to the officials.
Alejandrez and the quick passing by the Jacks gave South Whidbey trouble much of the match. The first goal in the 15th minute came on a bicycle kick in which the player has their back to the goal, jumps up and boots the ball upside down — an athletic play that the Falcon team leaders said put them on their heels.
“The way they scored the first goal, it was actually incredible,” Adams said. “It kind of scared us a little bit.”
South Whidbey fought off several more shots through the first half but only trailed 1-0 by the break.
In the second half, however, Quincy took a commanding 2-0 lead on another Alejandrez goal assisted by Armando Ortega in the 63rd minute.
“No. 12 [Alejandrez], he would roam around the field,” Auburn said. “That’s what gave us trouble.”
Quincy’s offense tallied 21 shots on goal to South Whidbey’s seven. For much of the season, the Falcons relied on a large number of shots on goal to power their offense. In the playoffs, however, the shots were limited and the efficiency increased. Against Quincy, the offense found its rhythm too late.
For South Whidbey’s five seniors, their Falcon careers ended May 24 at Goddard Stadium, having taken the boys soccer team to its first state tournament in a decade.
“I’m pretty heartbroken, obviously,” Adams said. “But it was a really good season and I’m proud of every single one of these guys.”