The South Whidbey soccer team has had a really bad second half of the season — they’re young and they’re learning, but they’re also losing.
In their final home game on Saturday, the Falcons dropped a hard 2-1 loss to Lakewood.
With five key players on a high school jazz trip, Falcon Coach Joel Gerlach had his hands full trying to keep positions filled.
Surprisingly, this may work in the Falcons’ favor. At least in the long term.
“I’ve been able to cycle through a lot of the younger guys,” Gerlach said. “They’ll know what to do next year.”
Though ballhandling was balanced, there were times when players found themselves out of place on the field and even startled when the ball came their way.
But the coaches are convinced the exposure will help them avoid being afraid to play at the varsity level.
“The freshmen and sophomores have adapted very well,” Gerlach said. “This was one of the better played games; good passes, solid communication on the field and nice build-up for attacks.”
The Falcons’ only score came just before the break as Ethan Low was sandwiched by a Cougar and was awarded a penalty kick when the referee made an obstruction call — and Low never misses.
“Ethan has shown tremendous maturity this year as senior captain,” Gerlach said.
The winning score came halfway through the second period as confusion in front of the box gave a Cougar the chance for a lucky kick that goalie Dylan Fate couldn’t prevent.
“Their style of play was physical and they created a lot of havoc but our guys stood up to them man for man,” Gerlach said. “Just a few more minutes and we would have won.”
The coach noted the excellent play from Brett Warwick, sweeper Buddy Meehan, Erik Barman, Adrian Cortes, Marshall Banks and James Schorr.
“This was our best game,” Barman said. “We struggled a lot this year in every category and the loss to Lakewood was very disappointing. We were neck-and-neck to the end.”
Depending on who does what this week, the boys will end up taking the fourth or fifth spot in the Cascade Conference. Thursday they face a Northwest League opponent in a loser-out crossover game. The Falcons are 4-9 in the league, 5-9 overall.
“The future looks bright,” the coach said.
Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.