South Whidbey boys soccer survives King’s, Cedarcrest

Six yellow cards were issued in a rough-and-tumble boys soccer match between Cascade Conference rivals South Whidbey and King’s on Friday.

South Whidbey rallied from an early 1-0 deficit and survived a host of penalties called on King’s to win 2-1.

“It was an intense game, one of the most intense games we’ve played,” said Falcon head coach Emerson “Skip” Robbins.

Players were pushing and shoving, coaches yelled at each other and Robbins said attitudes soured to the point he thought the team’s benches might clear — a more common occurrence in baseball than fútbol.

“It was ugly,” Robbins said.

King’s took a 1-0 lead early in the match. Knight senior Svenn Helleren booted in a goal on an assist by Nii Engmann in the fifth minute.

“I think our center backs got caught on the same line and weren’t in a diagonal,” Robbins said.

South Whidbey answered midway through the first half. Falcon senior Davin Kesler sent the ball to junior Lucas Leiberman who booted it in from the left side to tie the match.

Late in the second half, South Whidbey got its go-ahead goal on a penalty kick by senior Jeff Meier. A handball in the goalie’s box by King’s put the ball 12 yards away from the goal with just Meier and the Knight keeper, and Meier’s leg won the battle.

“There’s no quit in them. They don’t get down, they don’t feel sorry for themselves,” Robbins said.

The win secured a potential tiebreaker for playoff position in the 1A District 1 tournament because South Whidbey beat King’s both times.

Three teams were tied for second place: South Whidbey, King’s and Cedarcrest. Beating King’s for a second time kept South Whidbey in the hunt for the top berth from the Cascade Conference in the district tournament. But the win did not come easily.

The Falcons, however, had more challenges ahead when they faced the Cedarcrest Red Wolves in Duvall on Monday. After falling to the Red Wolves 2-1 at Waterman’s Field earlier this season, the Falcons reversed their roles and won 2-1 in Duvall, spoiling Cedarcrest’s senior night and final league home game.

“They completely outplayed us and we wound up winning,” Robbins said. “They out-possessed us, they outshot us, and the guys found a way to win.”

South Whidbey took the lead on a goal by Meier, who lofted the ball over the Cedarcrest goalie for his 21st goal of the season.

Cedarcrest tied the score on a free kick that rolled past the scrum in the South Whidbey goalie box and by keeper Charley Stelling.

“It came through everybody and went through the low-post corner,” Robbins said. “I think Charley was just blocked out from seeing it.”

A deflected shot by junior Jordan Henriot found its way to junior Lucas Leiberman who booted it in for the go-ahead goal.

The win kept South Whidbey (9-3-0 Cascade Conference, 11-3-0 overall) on par with King’s in second place in the league standings. King’s has to face undefeated Archbishop Murphy and Cedar Park Christian later this week. South Whidbey hosts winless Lakewood on Wednesday for its final regular-season home game and travels to Sultan (4-7-0 conference, 5-7-1 overall) on Friday to close out league play.