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U-12 Revolution team beats Blue Arrows
It was a close-run thing, but the stalwart 11- and 12-year-olds of the South Whidbey Revolution soccer team pulled it off Saturday.
Payback to the team that beat them 6-3 back in September was sweet.
The team won the Washington Youth Soccer’s Commissioner’s Cup quarterfinal game 2-1 over the Blue Arrows of the Seattle Football Association at the Langley Sports Complex.
By all accounts, the contest was both exciting and nerve-racking for the coaches and fans standing on the sidelines.
The Revolution fell behind early in the first half 1-0 to the Seattle club, which held up through the first 40 minutes of the game.
Prior to the end of the first half, Revolution goalkeeper Charley Stelling made an outstanding save by parrying a point-blank shot taken from eight feet away headed for the left-hand corner. The save changed the outcome of the game, as the score could have been a 2-0 deficit at the end of the half, which is difficult to overcome against a quality defense.
“In the first half, we weren’t very energized for some reason,” said Revolution player Kameron Donohoe, 11. “But then we got our heads out of the clouds in the second.”
Although the Revolution boys had been dominating the prior 20 minutes of the game, no goals came their way. Their luck changed when the Blue Arrows had a hand ball in their own 18-yard penalty area and the Revolution was awarded a direct penalty shot from the 12-yard spot, according to coach Terry Swanson.
“Andy Zisette scored a perfectly placed goal in the upper left hand corner of the goal,” Swanson said.
“From that point on, the Revolution pressed the play in the Blue Arrows’ half of the field for most of the remaining 20 minutes. The Blue Arrow defense finally broke when South Whidbey’s Davin Kesler scored the second goal with 10 minutes remaining in the game,” he said.
Davin, 11, recalled the moment with crystal clarity.
“Oliver (Saunssaucie) kicked the ball to me through their defense,” he said. “I kicked it in six inches from the post. They had some different kids from the last time we played them, but we figured it out.”
Davin noted that Coach Swanson told them at the half to control the game better.
“He got us all fired up.”
Jordan Henriot felt his Revolution teammates weren’t as excited as they needed to be.
“In the second half we got more into the game and pulled it off,” Jordan, 11, said. “The coach said we were outplaying them and could beat them.”
Swanson said the Revolution has played outstanding team defense throughout the entire playoff run.
“The team has only given up two goals in the past five games,” he said. “In this run for the Commissioner’s Cup, the boys defeated three teams that they lost to during their regular season. The transformation of the Revolution to playing winning soccer at this level of competition followed a four game-losing streak last autumn when the team reached a low point in their season.”
Swanson said the team learned a lot from those losses, dedicating themselves to improving their defensive skills and tactics from the strikers, midfielders, defenders and back to the goalkeeper.
The team is comprised of 16 fifth- and sixth-graders: Joshua Adams, Bryce Auburn, Anders Bergquist, Kai Da Rosa, Kameron Donohoe, Donald Gambill, Davin Kesler, Jeffrey Meier, Oliver Saunssaucie, Charley Stelling, Thomas Swanson, Andrew Zisette, Parker Buchanan, Quinn Hassrick, Jordan Henriot and Lucas Leiberman.
On Saturday, Feb. 14 the team travels to the Starfire Complex in Tukwila for the next round.