Private schools in the Cascade Conference had South Whidbey boys soccer’s number until Monday night.
Following a 3-0 loss to returning class 2A state champion Archbishop Murphy on March 21 and a 3-1 loss to King’s on March 24, the Falcons looked to rebound against a struggling and winless Cedar Park Christian team. South Whidbey found little resistance on the pitch, scoring seven goals in the first half which paved the way for a sweeping 10-0 victory. The Falcons improved to 2-3-1 overall and 1-2 in league, while Cedar Park Christian dropped to 0-3 overall and 0-2 in league.
“I think these games are really important for building team character,” said Max Cassée, a senior center midfielder who scored two goals on Monday night. “These are good for the more inexperienced players, such as the freshmen. These are good learning experiences and good confidence boosters for when we go face teams that are of a higher caliber.”
The scoring rout began just four minutes into the game when sophomore forward Graham Colar penetrated the Eagles’ defense and shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Jamison Dillion. Three minutes later, senior defender Tristan Cortes corralled a pass from a teammate while standing inside the goalie box and scored with a quick kick to the left side of the net.
Cassée, playing with a protective wrist guard for a sprained wrist he sustained earlier this season, was next in line to score. Cassée broke past the Eagles’ defense in the ninth minute and ran directly down the center of the field and prepared to shoot. As he neared the goalie box, however, freshman Eagles defender Ding Lou dragged him down by grabbing and holding onto Cassée’s shoulder. Cassée grimaced in pain but immediately looked for a penalty to be drawn by the referee. Cassée was awarded a penalty kick, which he capitalized on when he rolled the ball to the left side of the net and out of Dillion’s reach.
Head coach Emerson “Skip” Robbins asked Cassée from the sidelines if he was able to continue playing, to which he responded with a thumbs up.
“It’s healing,” Cassée said of his wrist. “… it should be good on Friday.”
The Falcons can’t afford to lose any starters, as two varsity players were recently suspended for violating team rules in a prior incident, according to Robbins. He declined to elaborate. The Falcons were short-handed as it was with the suspensions, a smaller overall turnout than previous years and injuries to varsity players in the first few games this season. At one point this season, the Falcons have had only one sub on the bench.
“It’s been a rough beginning for our season, but I think it will also help make us stronger down the road,” Robbins said.
Cassée added: “We’ve got some players injured, others players missing, but I still think we’ve had other people step up to their positions. Everyone is working really hard and I think we’re getting close.”
Before the first half was over, Cassée and Colar would each score again, while junior Lake Smith and sophomore Kody Newman would also score.
In the second half, the Falcons placed restrictions on their offensive approach. For example, the Falcons would be required to pass at least 10 times before shooting. Newman would later score his second goal of the night, while sophomore Ari Rohan and freshman Joey Lane would also join in the offensive tirade. Conversely, the Eagles never reached the Falcons’ half of the field.
“The only time the ball was in our half was when we had possession of it,” Cassée said.
Colar commended Lane for his goal, which was the first of his career. Just one year prior, Colar was in a similar position as a freshman. He also praised the effectiveness of the Falcons’ offense which spread the Eagles’ defense and left them vulnerable to attack.
“We built up the play pretty decently, played it wide and got some good passes to the middle,” Colar said. “I think we need to work on finishing, just in general, inside and outside the box.”
The Falcons play at Granite Falls at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 31. They return home to play Cedarcrest at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 5.