The South Whidbey High School soccer team didn’t mind working a little extra time in the round of 16 of the state 1A tournament, beating Klahowya in a shootout Tuesday, May 15, in Oak Harbor.
The Falcons (12-6-2) move to the quarterfinals and face Seattle Academy (11-4-3) at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 19, at Shoreline Stadium.
The Cardinals finished third in the Emerald City League behind defending state champion Overlake (12-2-2) and University Prep (10-4-2), two other teams still alive in the state playoffs. In fact, those two teams square off in the round of 8 following the South Whidbey contest Saturday at Shoreline. The Overlake/University Prep winner will challenge the South Whidbey/Seattle Academy winner at 1 p.m. Friday, May 25, at Sumner’s Sunset Chevrolet Stadium in the semifinals.
South Whidbey lost to Overlake 3-0 in the bi-district championship game May 5.
During the regular season, Seattle Academy lost to Overlake 1-0 in one game and tied the Owls 0-0 in another.
South Whidbey 7, Klahowya 6
South Whidbey and Klahowya (15-4-1) were tied 2-2 after regulation and played through two scoreless overtime periods.
Both teams connected on their first four attempts in the shootout, then the Falcons’ Julian Inches made a diving save on the Eagles’s fifth attempt.
Senior Silas Batiste converted for South Whidbey, wrapping up the win.
“Suffice it to say, I could not be prouder of our guys,” Falcon coach Emerson Robbins said. “They battled for 90 minutes, giving it all they had and came away with a hard fought, but well deserved, victory. These guys continue to amaze me.”
Playing with a strong wind at its back, South Whidbey led 1-0 at halftime.
Fifteen minutes into the match, Nevin Daniels scored off a corner kick by Thomas Simms.
The Eagles took advantage of the wind after the break, constantly sending high balls into the 18-yard box.
About 10 minutes into the second half, Klahowya broke through to tie the game. South Whidbey then regained the lead when Aidan O’Brien sent a pass to Daniels, who hammered a ground ball to the goal mouth that Michael Lux drilled into the net.
“From this point on, we were mostly defending as Klahowya threw numbers up, having nothing to lose,” Robbins said. “We defended attack after attack, dodging some bullets during this last 20 minutes or so.”
In the final minute, South Whidbey was whistled for a foul inside the 18-yard box. A Falcon defender tried to get a foot on the Klahowya shot but inadvertently healed-in an own goal to tie the match.
“I just told them, the past is the past, the door is closed, but now they can again take control of the game,” Robbins said. “I didn’t see even one of our guys hang their heads or get down. They were, to a man, composed and confident.
“Julian, one of our co-captains and our emotional leader, gathered the guys up and fired the guys up. They took the field as if nothing had happened and played the two golden goal periods with all their effort and ability.”
South Whidbey welcomed back Lux, the league’s leading scorer, to the match after he missed the bi-district championship with an injury. Ari Rohan, however, was injured in the bi-district final and is out for the year.
Six Falcons were named to the all-Cascade Conference first team, the league announced this week.
Lake Smith received the Defender of the Year Award, and forward Lux (20 goals), midfielder Graham Colar (15 goals, seven assists), midfielder Batiste (eight goals, eight assists), defender Rohan and keeper Inches were the other first team choices.
Robbins was named Coach of the Year.