Girls soccer squad claims first state berth in 14 years at bi-district

South Whidbey girls soccer clinched a berth to the state championships for the first time since 2003 on Saturday.

The Falcons finished fifth in the 1A Bi-District tournament on Oct. 31-Nov. 4 at Sultan High School with two wins and one loss; the top five teams advanced to state. The Emerald City League’s Seattle Academy won the tournament, while King’s, Overlake and Lynden Christian placed second, third and fourth, respectively.

South Whidbey (9-12-1 overall) played Klahowya (17-1) in the first round on Tuesday night at Silverdale Stadium after The Record’s deadline.

“It’s awesome,” said senior Mikayla Hezel regarding the accomplishment. “We’re such a young team and to make it that far with the majority of our team being sophomores is absolutely incredible.”

The girls soccer program has seen its fair share of ups and downs since the early 2000s, which included a state berth in 2001 and a second place finish in 2003. South Whidbey averaged about five wins per season between 2009 and 2013, but were winless in 2014. South Whidbey won just four games in 2015 and 2016.

Hezel attributed the Falcons’ success to being a tight-knit group.

“That helps a lot with the success of our team,” Hezel said.

Young as they are, the Falcons still managed to find a way to beat Meridian 2-0 in the loser-out, state-qualifying match on Saturday. The team knew what was at stake against Meridian, but they didn’t bat an eye.

First-year head coach Terry Swanson said the Falcons had only 13 players, meaning only two substitutes were available.

“What is most remarkable to me as coach is that these girls have played 22 soccer games in 60 days and most recently six playoff games in 11 days,” Swanson said. “A typical Falcon starter will run five to six miles in an 80-minute game. As we move onto State our players are still laughing at practice and singing on the bus rides home whether we win or we lose because they know they have left everything on the field.”

It was the second time the Falcons had survived in a make-or-break game this past week, the last being Tuesday’s 3-1 victory over University Prep in the first round of the tournament. Sophomores Karyna Hezel and Allison Papritz scored the Falcons’ two goals against Meridian, while the defense shut the Trojans down the rest of the way.

“Our defense is so incredibly solid,” Mikayla Hezel said.

The Falcons are well aware their opening round match against Klahowya won’t be easy.

“Honestly, we could be happy either way because we’ve made it this far,” Hezel said. “We want to win.”

More in Sports

Future of SW basketball on display at camp

The hall leading to the South Whidbey High School gymnasium is adorned… Continue reading

Heggenes, Pope receive Cliff Gillies Award

Seniors Kolby Heggenes and Lewis Pope were the recipients of this year’s… Continue reading

South Whidbey grads find success at collegiate level / Alumni update

A handful of South Whidbey High School graduates are continuing their athletic… Continue reading

South Whidbey athletes receive letters, awards

South Whidbey High School wrapped up the 2018 spring sports season by… Continue reading

Cascade Conference honors South Whidbey players, coaches

Twenty-one South Whidbey High School spring athletes earned all-Cascade Conference first-team honors… Continue reading

Falcons comment on state experience / Tennis

Mental and physical growth helped South Whidbey junior Mary Zisette and sophomore… Continue reading

Falcons take early exit at state / Softball

The South Whidbey High School softball team dropped both its games at… Continue reading

Papritz, Zisette place 2nd in state doubles tournament / Tennis

South Whidbey High School’s Alison Papritz and Mary Zisette swatted their way… Continue reading

Nielsen paces SW at state with 4 medals / Track

South Whidbey’s Sophia Nielsen led the Falcons at the state 1A track… Continue reading

SW grads qualify for national tournament / Ultimate frisbee

Two South Whidbey High School graduates have tossed their way to the… Continue reading

Heggenes 3rd, Falcons 4th at state tournament / Girls golf

Kolby Heggenes placed third and South Whidbey High School fourth at the… Continue reading

South Whidbey finishes 9th at state / Boys golf

The South Whidbey High School boys golf team placed ninth at the… Continue reading