UPDATE | Falcon girls shut down by Wildcats

Falcon forward Paige Miller (17) tangles with Wildcat defender Shelby Koch on Monday at Waterman Field. South Whidbey lost the battle 8-0. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
Falcon forward Paige Miller (17) tangles with Wildcat defender Shelby Koch on Monday at Waterman Field. South Whidbey lost the battle 8-0.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

Year after year, it’s the Wildcats of Archbishop Murphy that dominate the Cascade Conference in football, volleyball and soccer.

They showed their expertise again Tuesday by shutting out the Falcon soccer team 8-0. Star Wildcat forward Caroline Brawner scored back-to-back goals two minutes apart within five minutes of the game’s start, with assists by Lindsey Bos and Kelly Gould.

The Falcons are 2-5 in league play and

3-5 overall. Murphy remains undefeated at 6-0 and 7-0.

“The girls from Murphy play all year, have great vision on the field, and if one player gets loose near the goal, it can start a chain reaction,” said Falcon coach Paul Arand. “Five of their players got loose, and we were unable to stop them scoring. Their ability to exploit any chinks in a defense is the best in the league.”

Girls on the Murphy team play soccer all year long, Arand explained.

“Most belong to premiere or select teams and have the advantage of off-season play at a higher lever,” he said. “It’s hard to assess your own team when up against girls of this caliber.”

Arand’s strategy before the game was to have his players stay close and try and contain the Wildcats in hopes of channeling them away from the goal.

Easier planned than accomplished. The Wildcats applied pressure from the start and were able to control the speed of the game.

In her two goals, Brawner slipped through four Falcon defenders without being touched.

“When the ball is coming at you, you need to move fast and stay in the correct position to steal or dislodge the ball from an opponent,” Arand said. “Maintaining the right spacing with your teammates is crucial.”

There were some bright spots for the Falcons. Senior defender Laura Barrow was able to deflect a number of goal attempts and goalie Natasha Kamps made some great saves. In the second period, the Falcons prevented any Murphy goals for almost 30 minutes.

Falcon leading scorer Paige Miller knew what to expect.

“I play on a select team with all those ATM girls called Northwest Nationals,” she said. “After saying hello, it felt a little weird playing against them. They knew my style of play, so they managed to triple-team me.”

Kamps said she did her best not to let the multiple Wildcat goals get her down.

“Keeping my energy level up right to the last minute was about all I could do,” she noted. “They had the ability to get past our defense and score. It’s frustrating, but there are other days and other teams, and we can’t get down on ourselves.”

High school sports teams work in cycles — an especially hot group of athletes rises through the ranks over four years, finishing their tenure by making it to district and state playoffs.

But then the seniors graduate and the proverbial “build-up” process begins all over.

Things are different with private schools, like Murphy and King’s. Though prohibited from actively recruiting by the state’s athletic association, they are not limited by district boundaries, allowing them to cast a wide geographic net for student-athletes.

That leads to some familiar faces. In almost every sport at Murphy, located in south Everett, there are athletes from South Whidbey.

Even so, Arand said there are lessons to be learned from every game, regardless the outcome.

“We saw how important it is to adjust to the higher level of speed used by the Wildcats, but we also learned the value of persistence and the courage to go in there and give all you’ve got,” he said.

“That’s worth a great deal, in any sport.”

Thursday, the girls rebounded big time with a 3-0 win over the Coupeville Wolves. The Falcons got first half goals from Jessica Manca and Miller. Anna Lennon finished the scoring with a second-half goal off a deflection.

The Coupeville girlssoccer team “played well,” according to Wolves coach Mike Thornton. “We even had more chances on goal, but we just couldn’t get it in the back of the net,” he said.

On Tuesday, Oct. 6 the girls travel to Lakewood, then to Cedarcrest on Thursday, Oct.8.

Jim Waller of the Whidbey News-Times contributed to this story.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or

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