South Whidbey tops Coupeville in soccer season finale

LANGLEY — Seven seniors on the South Whidbey girls soccer team got a great parting gift from their teammates Saturday: a 4-1 win over island rival Coupeville.

The Falcons dominated on both sides of the ball and took an early lead at the 8-minute mark on a goal by Jessica Manca.

Laurie Robinson followed up with South Whidbey’s second goal, edging one in on an assist from Manca in the 25th minute.

Anna Lennon scored for the Falcons soon after, in the 37th minute, and the Wolves fell into a three-goal hole.

Coupeville responded with a goal by Jordan Adkins, but Lennon scored again in the 78th minute off a Julia Iversen pass to put the game away.

Falcon coach Paul Arand said Lennon’s first goal was something special: a chipper from the corner over the goalkeeper’s head into the left side.

“It was a difficult shot; it was fun to see her put that in,” Arand said.

Not that her second goal was pretty spectacular, as well. The game-icer was a shot down the center from about 20 yards out that slipped inside the left post.

“Anna got a breakaway on the keeper, took two dribbles and then placed it to the left corner,” Arand said.

It was a worthy win, because Coupeville has risen its level of play in recent years.

“If you look back at Coupeville’s recent history to the teams they have been playing, they have really stepped up their defense, and I think some teams have had some trouble scoring against them,” Arand said.

The Wolves were coming off a victory over Cedarcrest, a perennial Cascade Conference standout, and also beat King’s 4-0.

“You can’t take Coupeville’s defense lightly. They’ve done pretty well against most of their opponents,” Arand said. “That was something that was certainly on our mind as we entered that game.”

Arand credited the Falcon forwards for their role in the win.

“It seemed like they were communicating well, and they weren’t afraid to shoot the ball,” he said.

Arand also gave much credit to the Coupeville goalkeeper, Ashley Manker.

“I think their keeper did a pretty nice job fending off all the shots we were taking,” he said.

There were no gimmes in goal, and Manker made the Falcons work for each one.

“She’s a pretty strong kid; she covers the goal pretty well,” Arand said. “Most of the balls were placed into the low outside corner of the net to beat Ashley.”

The Falcons’ win over Coupeville came after a 4-0 loss to Archbishop Murphy earlier in the week, a game closer than the score indicates.

“That game was 2-0 until about five to 10 minutes left in the game. We played with 12 players and I think four or five of them had the flu,” Arand said.

“Despite all that stuff, we improved on our previous score against them, when we lost 9-0.”

Arand said the team met its goal of improving its defense. Players such as Amanda Lutsock keyed in on Archbishop’s top scorer, and Laura Barrow “made some really heroic shots,” he added. Natasha Kamps’ skills in goal were also essential.

“She made some tremendous stops, as well,” he said.

To be sure, Arand said, the team is filled with unsung heroes — Megan Larmore, Makenzie Peterson, Brianna Haimes, Iversen — athletes who put an incredible amount of effort into the game in ways that don’t show up on the scoreboard.

At the break in Saturday’s game, seven seniors — Iversen, Barrow, Shannon Craig, Lennon, Natasha Kamps, Larmore and Cristy Toledo — were honored.

“You could tell they were really enjoying themselves,” Arand said. “And I think that’s really what the high school soccer program is about; you’ve got kids that are well rounded and they are out there learning the values of teamwork and community.”

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