The South Whidbey girls soccer team beat Mount Baker 3-2 in a single-elimination crossover game Thursday.
Forward Karissa Thomas scored twice, met each time by a Mountaineer goal, the second with a few minutes left.
Tied at 2-2 the game went into overtime, then as no one scored the refs called for a shoot out.
In this tie-breaker, five girls from each team got to try their foot at the ball, past the goalie into the net.
The Falcons — Thomas, Martha Rocio Gil-Osorio, Annie Doran, Laura Barrow and Lauren Sandri — made their goals.
And Falcon goalie Natasha Kamps made a spectacular save on the fifth Mountaineer kick and the game went to South Whidbey.
“The girls played with heart and never gave up,” Falcon coach Paul Arand said.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Falcons knew they had a fight on their hands when undefeated Archbishop Murphy came to town. They were right.
In the final regular season soccer game of the year, the girls lost 6-0 to last year’s state
2A champion. South Whidbey is 5-10 in the league.
“They’re an amazingly talented team with players that train and play together all year long,” Falcon coach Paul Arand said. “They were very good last year and better now.”
Nine minutes into the first half, Wildcat Caroline Connor slid through the defense and capped her one-woman drive with a short kick into the net.
Connor and ATM teammate Taylor Pollen combined for three more goals before the half ended.
But the score would have been higher if goalie Kamps hadn’t made half a dozen saves. She did her best but the ATM onslaught was unrelenting.
South Whidbey said the Falcons matched up better in the earlier game against the Wildcats in September.
“We played harder than the last time we saw them. But they’re at the top and we know why,” Kylie DeMartini said. “Overall I thought we did a good job holding them.”
No doubt, it’s tough to play without one of your two star forwards — the Falcons’ Grace Itaya was in New York City interviewing for a spot at Oxford University.
“There are things in life greater than soccer,” Arand said. “Not many, though.”
Arand kept the original field positions for the match, adopting a more defensive posture to counter ATM’s greater speed. One change saw Eva Denker move up into mid-field. “She was comfortable there,” he said.
“Our game plan was OK but their two forwards had the ability to break through on the dribble and beat us on speed,” the coach said.
Without Itaya, Thomas had to shoulder the scoring burden.
“It was hard because every time I touched the ball it would get taken away,” she said.
At the half, the seniors were honored by fans and parents and recognized for their efforts on the field — Itaya, DeMartini, Gil-Osorio, Sandri, Denker, Rachel Harris and Doran.
The second half wasn’t as frenzied, though ATM managed two more goals. De Martini said the high point was a save by Sandri at the goal.
“Lauren was amazing. She kicked, slipped and fell then her foot shot out to keep them from scoring. Again.”
Christine Johnson continued to attack the ball as she mixed it up with Wildcat Connor.
“And Martha at sweeper is getting much better in reading the play and stopping those who break through,” Arand said.
Before they boarded the bus to Mount Baker, the girls were looking forward to their first playoff game.
“I’m prepared for tonight,” Thomas said.
Hanna Banks confirmed the team’s overall optimism. “I hope we play our hardest; it’s a winnable game.”
At 1 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 the team meets ATM again for a double-elimination contest at Bellingham’s Civic Stadium.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.