Andy Zisette scored two goals to power South Whidbey boys soccer past Sultan 3-0 in the 1A District 1 tournament Wednesday.
Despite previously rolling through the Turks, the Falcons struggled. South Whidbey’s formidable offense that had previously scored 25 unanswered goals against Sultan in Cascade Conference play this season was largely off the mark.
“We were expecting to just walk in here and score like we’ve been playing against these guys. We didn’t and we overestimated ourselves,” said Falcon junior Lucas Leiberman, who scored the game’s first goal. “That’s just in the head. Getting in front of the goal, it’s nerve-wracking.”
Leiberman opened the game with its first goal in the 17th minute on a cross from senior Jeff Meier. The ball bounced across the box past several players to Leiberman’s foot, who sent the ball rolling into the net.
After the match, Leiberman took the opportunity to unveil a large banner with the help of teammates asking a girl to the school’s prom dance and also handing her a bouquet of roses. She said “yes.”
“We’re used to scoring on this team and it was expected that we’d come in here and get it done,” Leiberman said, referring to the short, demure celebration after his goal. “I was happy but it wasn’t anything special.”
As in most matches this season, South Whidbey tallied an astounding number of shots: 28. Most, however, were not of the quality co-head coaches Joel Gerlach and Emerson “Skip” Robbins are accustomed to seeing.
Several Falcon shots sailed high, even those that came from inside the 12-yard mark.
Sultan’s defense slightly shifted, said Falcon players, from previous matches. The Turks defenders excelled at deflecting near-certain goals and clearing the ball from the box.
Zisette scored his first goal in the 32nd minute off a deflection. Afterward, he barely cracked a smile and later said it was an odd score for him.
“I just took a little lefty ball and it bounced so slowly I thought, ‘He’s gotta get that,’” Zisette said. “There was just so much traffic he couldn’t see it.”
Early in the second half, South Whidbey seemed to secure the match. Meier crossed the ball to Zisette, who slammed it to the net in the 51st minute. The Falcon senior has been flying high in the past few matches, scoring 10 goals in six games.
“I’m feeling pretty good, really confident the last couple of games,” Zisette said. “When I shoot, I know it’s going to be, hopefully, a goal. I used to be wishy-washy about shooting.”
Victory sent South Whidbey to the 1A District 1 championship match against league rival King’s on Saturday, May 9. The Falcons swept the Knights this season, but both matches were close at 2-0 and 2-1. The game will begin at 11 a.m. at Sultan High School.
Saturday’s victor punches their ticket to the 1A state tournament. The loser has to win two matches to advance.
Despite the struggles against Sultan, Leiberman said the Falcons will be ready to take on the Knights.
“We know if we play the way we did today, it’s not going to be the same outcome Saturday,” Leiberman said. “If we come out with intensity, keep our heads, we can have the same outcome we’ve had the previous meetings.”