South Whidbey boys soccer is postseason bound.
With the Falcons’ 3-0 win over Sultan on Friday, South Whidbey (6-7-1 overall, 5-6-0 in the Cascade Conference) has guaranteed itself at least the third seed in the district tournament on May 1 at Whatcom Community College. The 3-0 victory was also the Falcons’ third consecutive win after defeating Cedar Park Christian and Granite Falls last week.
Injuries and suspensions sapped the Falcons’ strength in the first few weeks of the season. South Whidbey also endured a tough stretch of matches earlier this month, losing four league games in a row, while also calling up players from the junior varsity squad. But, the once-absent starters have now returned to help South Whidbey hit its stride in the final stretch of the regular season. They’ve outscored their past three opponents 8-0.
“I’m proud of the guys for battling through all of this,” head coach Emerson “Skip” Robbins said. “There’s been time where we’ve literally had five starters out.”
“I knew we had a good team going into the season, but I never thought in my worst nightmares we’d have these kinds of injuries,” he added.
South Whidbey is now missing only one of its starters, Nevin Daniels, who is out for the season with a minor fracture in his ankle.
South Whidbey’s shutout win over Sultan was both a morale booster and a relief, according to captains Lake Smith and Max Cassée. The Falcons lost to the Turks 2-0 on April 7.
“We’re peaking right now,” Cassée said. “We’re looking in form and have had some really good results lately. The team is jelling together at the perfect time and we’re playing well together.”
Smith, a junior defender, believes the Falcons’ offense has transformed into a force to be reckoned with.
“I have a lot more confidence in the offense now,” Smith said. “They can definitely show me that they can work well together and make plays.”
The Falcons are still on thin ice though, said Robbins, as one injury could set the team back. Cassée, however, said the team can only control what it can.
“It’s a little nerve-racking, staying healthy,” Cassée said. “But, we’re going to give it all we can because that’s all you can do. If injuries come, injuries come. But, we’re going to play our hearts out until the moment we can’t.”
The Falcons played Port Townsend on Tuesday night after The Record’s deadline. If South Whidbey defeats Cedarcrest in the regular season finale on April 28, the Falcons will secure a second seed in the postseason. Robbins doesn’t think a higher seed will make much of a difference, though.
“I think we can go really deep in the playoffs, we have that much talent,” Robbins said.