Sports

Falcons lose in overtime to Granite Falls

Falcon forward Henry Mead, right, battles over the ball with a Granite Falls Tiger on Saturday. South Whidbey lost 3-2 in an overtime shoot-out contest. - Jeff VanDerford
Falcon forward Henry Mead, right, battles over the ball with a Granite Falls Tiger on Saturday. South Whidbey lost 3-2 in an overtime shoot-out contest.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

The South Whidbey soccer team missed a victory by the slimmest of margins Saturday, losing 3-2 in an overtime shootout against the Granite Falls Tigers.

Despite the absence of eight varsity players — the combination of spring break vacations, injuries and a California jazz field trip took their toll — the Falcons were aggressive in the first half and maintained steady pressure on the Tigers. Freshman goalie Garrett Thompson did a first-class job keeping the few balls that came his way out of the net.

In the middle of the first half, during a scramble in front of the Granite Falls net, the goalie became confused and Pat Myatt took advantage, almost sidling up to the pocket for a slow but effective score. South Whidbey took the 1-0 lead into the break.

“It was a free kick almost, and the defenders weren’t paying attention,” Myatt said. “Dino (Falcon Dino Michaelides) passed and I got it in.”

But with so many South Whidbey players sidelined for knee injuries and not enough substitutes, fatigue began to set in.

Granite Falls junior Maika Matalomani booted into the net a pair of goals within a five-minute span midway through the second half for the Tigers to take the lead 2-1.

“It’s hard to maintain the pace at the varsity level in a tough game like this one without adequate strength on the bench,” said Falcon coach Joel Gerlach. “The guys played extremely well, but without a break they get worn out.”

Michaelides assumed the role of leader on the field, exhorting his teammates to get, keep and score the ball.

Demonstrating that actions often speak louder than words, he snuck up behind a Tiger defender, stole the ball and scooted it to Nathanael Hagen.

“Dino crossed it for me and I knocked it in for the score,” Hagen recalled. “This was my first varsity goal, and it felt great to do something for the team.”

The score remained locked at 2-2 when time expired. In the event of a tie, soccer teams play two five-minute rounds followed by a shoot-out, if necessary.

Because the varsity keepers were absent, forward Henry Mead stepped into the goal box for the Falcons.

“Henry stopped one of their shots and we moved ahead, but then two of our shots missed. They made theirs, we missed ours,” Gerlach explained.

Gerlach noted that beyond Michaelides, Myatt, Thompson and Hagen, center back Ian McCaulley was effective in using an outside trap to confuse the Tiger offense.

The Falcons are 0-5 in the Cascade Conference, 1-6 overall.

“The second half of the season will see a major turnaround,” Gerlach promised. “When I get all the guys back, things will improve.”

“It takes a whole team, every man, to succeed at soccer, and all of us are confident the season will get a lot better,” Myatt added.

Michaelides said most of the games have been very close.

“If we can get, and stay, healthy, we will be a serious contender,” he said.

“We’re a little thin on the ground right now with lots of guys in Mexico.

“They’ll be back.”

At 6 p.m. Thursday, April 9, fans will see if the predictions pay out when the Coupeville Wolves visit Waterman Field.

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