In a match decided by penalty kicks, the South Whidbey High School soccer team lost at Tenino in the opening round of the state tournament Wednesday, Nov. 13.
The teams battled to a 1-1 tie in regulation, and then after two scoreless overtime periods, the Beavers prevailed in the penalty kick phase to remain unbeaten with an 18-0-1 record.
“It is hard to lose a hard-fought game, but 24 hours later, coaches and players can reflect on their season and know that the girls soccer program is healthy and there were a lot teams that did not have the opportunity to play in state,” South Whidbey coach Terry Swanson said. “We ended our season 17-3-1, were co-conference champions and went to state and lost our game on the road in PKs.
“Our players played outstanding and they are reaping the rewards of their hard work. I will miss our departing seniors and look forward to meeting next year’s freshmen and returning players in June.”
Although Tenino came into the match averaging more than five goals per game, South Whidbey dominated possession in the first half but was unable to score as the teams went into the break with a 0-0 tie. The Falcons were able to keep in check Tenino’s fast striker, “who put pressure on our defense,” according to Swanson.
The Beavers scored 10 minutes into the second half on a free kick outside the 18.
“The ball was driven low and was loose and their forward drove it into the goal,” Swanson said.
The Falcons’ Ashton Helseth tied the match in the 30th minute on a well-placed ball in the upper left corner.
South Whidbey “surged” after the equalizer and produced numerous scoring opportunities but could not connect.
On defense, keeper Nicole Helseth made a diving save on a break away to help send the match into overtime.
In addition to the Helseth sisters, the state-qualifying team included Abigail Amundson, Simone White, Mallory Drye, Adeline McCleary, Lily Farnham, Sydney Ollis, Mikenna Wicher, Lila McCleary, Karyna Hezel, Juliana Larson-Wickman, Ashley Ricketts, Alison Papritz, Ruby Bond, Claire Philp, Nikki Murnane, Samantha Ollis, Elizabeth Haines, Kelly Murnane, Kailey Rickets, Leniece Gonzales and Madeline Racicot.