The South Whidbey High School soccer team punched its ticket to the state tournament by knocking down Overlake 5-1 in the bi-district tournament Thursday, Nov. 7, in Granite Falls.
The Falcons (17-2-1) will open the state tournament against the District 4 champion, either Tenino (16-0-1) or Montesano (14-4). The two teams play for the district crown Saturday, Nov. 9. The winner will host South Whidbey sometime Monday through Wednesday, Nov. 11-13.
This will be the Falcons’ fifth trip to state, where they compiled a 5-4 record. South Whidbey qualified in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2017, finishing second in 2003 and third in 2000.
“Our girls are peaking at the right time,” Swanson said after the win over the Owls. “They are focused at practices and you could feel their intensity in warm-up prior to the game. They are still laughing and enjoying the experience.
“Similar to the Bear Creek game, our team came out with intensity and high-pressing defense.”
Mikenna Wicher scored in the first two minutes on a blind pass by Simone White, then Overlake tied the match on a free kick just before halftime.
The Falcons, however, were not frustrated at the break after dominating the first half, according to Swanson.
“The players were not down,” he said. “They knew they outplayed Overlake and they were going to come out and take this game.”
The second half was all South Whidbey.
White got things started by beating the Owl keeper for the go-ahead score, and the goal ignited the Falcons and defused Overlake, Swanson said.
Elizabeth Haines made it 3-1 on an assist from Alison Papritz.
Wicher intercepted a pass and crossed it to White, whose header put the Falcons up 4-1.
Papritz finished the scoring on a give-and-go with White.
“It is easy to keep track of the goals scored and assists in a game, but often the defensive play of a team does not get the recognition it deserves,” Swanson said. “Our players know that we win by the defense we play in all aspects of the game.
“Our success this season has been a complete team effort that involves every player on this team. While not every player plays equal time or in all games, they are all important to the success of this program and share in the joy of making it to state.”