Evan Thompson / The Record — South Whidbey sophomore Ashley Ricketts dribbles during a regular season match against Sultan in September. The Falcons are one win shy of a state berth.

Falcon girls soccer one win shy of state berth

Play in November: that’s been the goal for South Whidbey girls soccer all season. That’s because suiting up at this time of year means the Falcons reached the playoffs.

The Falcons are still alive in the postseason.

South Whidbey is just one win away from qualifying for state after beating University Prep 3-1 in the first round of the class 1A Bi-District tournament on Oct. 31 at Sultan High School. Lynden Christian beat the Falcons 2-0 in the semifinals on Thursday night, but they have one more opportunity to earn a state berth when they play Meridian in a loser-out elimination game on Saturday.

“We have our mind on playing in November,” senior Mikayla Hezel said. “That’s been our goal all season long, to play in November. That’s what we did. Everyone was on their game, from the goalie to the striker. ”

The Falcons (8-11-1 overall) reached the state-qualifying tournament after placing fourth in the 1A District 1 tournament on Oct. 23-28 with two wins and one loss. The bulk of South Whidbey’s squad is mostly freshmen and sophomores, yet they’ve won despite being on the fringe of elimination. Senior Mikayla Hezel considers herself lucky to be on a team that’s reached as far as it has in the postseason.

“It’s incredible,” Hezel said. “We’ve just come so far from the summer to now. You can see the growth in each game. Each game we’re getting better.”

“It’s just awesome and such a good feeling. Everyone is so positive and it’s a well-deserved goal that we’ve reached as a team,” she added.

South Whidbey beat Nooksack Valley 5-1 in the program’s first home playoff game in years on Oct. 23. The Falcons dropped their next game to Lynden Christian 3-1, but bounced back with a 6-1 victory over Cedar Park Christian to advance to the bi-district tournament.

Hezel said the Falcons played the best they have all season against University Prep, a Seattle-based team from the Emerald City League, in the first round.

“Everyone just has their role and they just play it and exceed it so well,” Hezel said. “We played completely as a unit.”

Sophomore goalkeeper Nicole Helseth said the team has played well despite its youth because of the Falcons’ experience in select league soccer. Many of them played for South Whidbey Reign, a successful select soccer program; the U-14 team finished second in the Washington Youth Soccer Founders Cup in February.

“There’s a whole bunch of these people who are doing select,” Helseth said. “The select team has definitely benefited us.”

Freshmen Kelly Murnane could hardly believe the success the Falcons have had this postseason.

“It’s kind of mind blowing,” Murnane said. “We’re kind of the underdogs.”

“I didn’t think we we’re going to make it, so I’m just so impressed,” she added.

Sophomore Mallory Drye added that they’ve earned their spot in the postseason by their play and effort.

“I guess it just shows that hard work pays off,” Drye said. “We’ve all wanted this for a long time, especially (Falcon head coach) Terry (Swanson), so I feel like we just worked really hard.”

More in Sports

South Whidbey loses players and match / Soccer

The South Whidbey High School soccer team lost more than its non-league… Continue reading

Falcons top Turks / Volleyball

The South Whidbey High School volleyball team won its conference opener 3-0… Continue reading

Falcons snare handful of top-10 finishes / Swimming

Four South Whidbey High School swimmers combined for eight top-10 finishes at… Continue reading

South Whidbey comes back to defeat Sultan / Soccer

Shaking off a sluggish start, the South Whidbey High School soccer team… Continue reading

South Whidbey rallies for 1st win / Tennis

A pair of comeback wins lifted the South Whidbey High School tennis… Continue reading

Middle schoolers lead way at Westling Invitational / Cross country

The population of South Whidbey swelled Saturday, Sept. 15, when the Falcons… Continue reading

Oak Harbor nips Falcons / Soccer

Although the South Whidbey High School soccer team lost 1-0 at Oak… Continue reading

Falcons lose defensive battle / Football

Everything about South Whidbey High School’s football team’s trip to Chelan went… Continue reading

Falcons get season started / Swimming

South Whidbey High School’s four swimmers opened their season with two meets… Continue reading

Most Read