Falcons open soccer season with win over rival

Junior forward/midfielder Leah Rostov scored on a penalty kick in the 30th minute of the Falcons’ 4-2 season-opening win over Coupeville on Thursday night at Waterman’s Field.

A year is a long time to wait for anything.

Just ask Falcon senior Kendra Warwick, who entered Thursday night’s soccer match against island rival Coupeville on a year-long hiatus from scoring a goal.

But as it turned out, Warwick didn’t have to wait long to break that dry spell.

Warwick scored in the second minute and added another during stoppage time — the last few minutes of the game — to help the Falcons to a 4-2 season-opening win over the Wolves Thursday night at Waterman’s Field. First-year head coach Brian McCleary was proud of the effort the girls made in shedding the pressure of last year’s winless season off their shoulders.

“Anytime you start a season with a win, it’s really lifting,” McCleary said. “They have a lot of pressure on them from last season, so for them to do that and come out and win the game they lost last year was really great. I’m really proud of the effort they made.”

With the win, the Falcons are 1-0-0 while the Wolves dropped to 0-2-0.

South Whidbey didn’t waste a moment from the start of the match and immediately pressed the Wolves defense.

After a few passes around the outer rim of the goalie’s box, Warwick possessed the ball and quickly hammered a shot from the center of the field and into the net.

“I’ve been thinking about it all week, I’ve been waiting for this game,” Warwick said. “I was really nervous and I really wanted to score a goal. So getting it was like, ‘OK, now I can calm down and I can actually do my job.’ ”

Staying on the attack, junior forward/midfielder Leah Rostov pressured the Wolves defense with a shot on goal in the 30th minute. The shot was deflected by the Wolves goalkeeper and Rostov chased it down. But just as she was reaching the ball, the Wolves goalkeeper initiated contact by pushing Rostov from behind and elicited a penalty kick for the Falcons.

Rostov capitalized by punching the shot in to the right side of the net to put South Whidbey up, 2-0.

Shortly after, the Falcons pressured once more and caused a mishap in the Wolves defense. South Whidbey defender Nora Anastasi lobbed a shot into Coupeville’s goalie box and in an effort to clear the ball, Wolves defender Lindsey Roberts scored an own-goal, extending the Falcons lead to 3-0.

McCleary subbed in reserve players at the start of the second half which ultimately led to two quick goals by the Wolves’ offense.

The Falcons quickly adjusted by staying on the attack and keeping the pressure on the Wolves’ side of the field. Much like the first half, South Whidbey dominated ball possession time, but only led by one goal.

South Whidbey forward/midfielder Mikayla Hezel spurred many of the team’s offensive drives by possessing the ball and sprinting along the sideline into the Wolves’ territory. The Falcons had near-misses on goal in the 55th, 70th, and 78th minutes, but were finally able to get the insurance they needed during stoppage time.

Falcons midfielder Maddie Drye connected with Warwick on a through pass between the Wolves’ defense. Warwick launched the shot into the left side of the net for the score.

The affirmation of having won the game manifests as more than just a tally on the win column, Rostov said.

“Our mission was to prove ourselves that we are a competitive team at this school, and we are someone that is worth being in the paper, and worth people coming out and watching, and worth our fans’ time and I think we did that,” Rostov said.

The Falcons will have a chance to keep momentum rolling when they play at Concrete High School today at noon.