By CHRIS McMULLEN
FEDERAL WAY – What a difference a day makes.
South Whidbey defeated Klahowya 1-0 Saturday to claim the third-place trophy in the Class 2A girls state soccer tournament.
Friday, the Falcons were out-hustled and beaten physically by Naches. Not Saturday.
Saturday was a better day for the South Whidbey.
The Falcons knew heading into this game that in order for them to win, they would have to play harder, and out-hustle their opponents.
Freshman forward Claudia Gil-Osorio spoke about how the Falcons had to come out more aggressively.
“Coach Arand brought that up so we thought about it, we talked about it, we did it,” she said.
And that they did.
South Whidbey came out fast in this one, playing with a sense of urgency.
Gil-Osorio made a few opportunities for herself with the help of some great passes from her teammates. She exhibited great ball control throughout the game.
She used her head to change the ball’s direction and put it past a defender. She also deftly used the top of her foot to flick the ball over her head and past the defense for a breakaway chance on goal.
With Gil-Osorio playing like that, it was just a matter of time before South Whidbey would score.
Falcon sophomore mid-fielder Shannon Skouras had a free kick just to the left and outside of the 18-yard box in Eagle territory. She couldn’t have made a better placement of the ball if she were to have thrown it.
The kick arced into the mouth of the Klahowya goal where Gil-Osorio met it perfectly with her head and knocked it past Eagles goalkeeper Alicia Langdon and into the back of the net.
The goal stood for the final 53 minutes of play, but Klahowya didn’t go down without a fight.
South Whidbey junior fullback Lindsey Binford used her speed several times to track down and disrupt breakaway chances by the Eagles.
“When I see the ball going down the field, I know I’ve got to get it,” Binford said. “I do track, so maybe that’s why I am so fast.”
Binford said she and her South Whidbey teammates were motivated by the success this season of the boys soccer team.
“We wanted to beat our guys team,” she said. “They finished second (in state) so we did not want fourth.”
In the second half, the Falcons came out with more energy and intensity, Binford said: “For sure we were more pumped. We went to the ball more.”
The game’s most thrilling moment might have come in the final five minutes.
Jennifer Beall, usually a defender for Klahowya, came in late as a forward and came close to scoring after picking her way through the Falcons’ defense on a breakaway.
But South Whidbey sophomore defender Michelle Shorr came flying past the pack and chased down Beall, taking the ball away before Beall could get off a shot.
The Falcons finished their season at 16-6. This is a team full of future promise with only three seniors on a team that will return 19 players to make a run at the state championship next year.
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