Confirming it is a program on the rise, the South Whidbey High School soccer team blanked visiting King’s 2-0 Thursday, Oct. 3, to take over sole possession of first place in the North Sound Conference.
The win proved that the Falcons’ victory by the same score late last season over the Knights — a match that snapped a 19-game losing streak to King’s — was not a stroke of luck.
It also provided the large home crowd, which included many local youth soccer players, with a glimpse of what to expect from the Falcons.
“Our team greatly appreciated the community support at the game with the packed bleachers,” coach Terry Swanson said. “It was extra special for our players to walk out with the younger future Falcon soccer players from the Reign select program before game. It is the support and growth of our youth program that forms the foundation of our high school program.”
King’s is a perennial power, qualifying for the state tournament in 12 of the past 13 years and placing 10 times, including winning the title in 2017.
By contrast, South Whidbey has reached the state tournament only four times in school history.
King’s came into Thursday’s match tied with South Whidbey with a 4-0 North Sound Conference record and 6-2 overall. Its two non-league losses were to an undefeated 4A team, Inglemoor, and an undefeated 2A school, Lakeside.
Unintimidated, South Whidbey whipped the Knights and pushed its records to 5-0 and 8-0.
“It was particularly important to our players and high school girls soccer program to win this game and demonstrate that last year’s win against Kings was not a fluke and that our team and soccer program can complete with the best 1A schools in the state,” Swanson said.
“King’s was third in the state (last year) and is always a formidable team to play, as most of their players play competitive year-round soccer and play a physical game. We matched their physicality. Tonight was a true team win with all of our players contributing and leaving every ounce of energy they had on the field.”
The match remained scoreless until the 20th minute of the second half when freshman Simone White scored on an assist from classmate Elizabeth Haines.
Up to that point, the Falcons controlled possession in the second half, then King’s began to press.
The South Whidbey defense, anchored by keeper Nicole Helseth, turned back the charge and recorded its sixth shutout in eight matches.
The Falcons received some breathing room when Mikenna Wicker scored off a rebound of a White shot with 15 minutes remaining.
“I am very pleased with the play of our underclassmen who are showing great poise under tremendous pressure,” Swanson said. “Our seniors are great role models for their teammates, and the chemistry is building game by game. We will need to put this win into our fondest memories and move onto the next challenges…Our players have something special going on this season and truly enjoying each other and their game experiences.”
South Whidbey hosts Friday Harbor (3-3) in a non-league match at noon Saturday, Oct. 5, and then goes to Bothell to face a tough Cedar Park Christian (3-3, 6-3) squad at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8.