Harshman’s prevent defense saves the day for Falcons

Falcon power forward Henry Mead pushes past a Coupeville Wolf opponent during the soccer team’s 3-2 win at Waterman Field on Tuesday.

Falcon goalie Keegan Harshman barely made it to his high school Wind Symphony concert Tuesday.

To get there, he had to break away from the swarm of teammate’s congratulations after beating back the Wolves’ penalty kick attempts and helping South Whidbey overcome Coupeville 3-2 after double overtime.

“I rushed across the field, got on stage in my soccer clothes, tuned my stand-up bass and we launched into ‘Black Horse Troop’,” Harshman recalled. “The transition from game to concert was a little tough.”

Not as tough as the unheralded Wolves, who fought the Falcons to a dead stop after Charlie Wahl’s short bunt into the net with

12:53 left in the first half.

“Coupeville has really improved this season,” said Falcon coach Joel Gerlach.

“In only their second year, the Wolves showed style, guts and some good moves. They kept us on our toes and will be heard from again.”

Midway through the period, Coupeville scored for a 1-1 tie at the break.

Several times, the 6-foot-5 inch Cortes, normally playing for the defense, moved upfield to bring the ball in from the line.

“Adrian can throw the ball as far as some players can kick it,” Gerlach said. “If a player can throw 35 to 40 yards, we’re going to use him.”

That point emphasized Gerlach’s attempt to get the right player in the right spot.

“There are no special teams in soccer but some guys have special abilities and it’s the coach’s job to use those abilities the best way possible,” Gerlach said.

He noted Mead’s fierce attacks and take-no-prisoners style helped keep the Wolf defenders off guard.

“Henry is fast and it’s a contact sport, so sometimes things can get a little rowdy out there,” Gerlach said.

The second half began with a sneak attack from the left on Harshman, moving Coupeville ahead 2-1.

Dino Michaelides, power forward Henry Mead, Wahl, Dean Freundlich and Cortes played excellent defense but couldn’t convert some solid play into goals; there were at least 15 scoring opportunities in the last 20 minutes.

In soccer, the clock stops with two minutes left, allowing the referee to adjust the time in case of delays. With seconds left, Michaelides scored on a free kick and the game moved onto overtime tied at 2-2 — the first team to score in five minutes wins.

There were no scores in two overtime attempts by either squad and the penalty kick phase began. Five players get one chance each to get the ball into the net.

Harshman blocked two of three attempts while Wahl, Michaelides, Mead and Marshall Banks made their goals with rifle accuracy and the game — and Coupeville’s hopes of beating their island rival — was over.

Harshman was modest but pleased with his performance.

“I blocked more goals than the other guy,” he said. “I was scared and nervous in the penalty kick, but excited, too.”

South Whidbey is 1-0 in the Cascade Conference, 2-1 overall.

At 6 p.m. Tuesday. March 25, the Falcons welcome King’s to Waterman Field.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@south