Viking girls learn the agony of defeat

Vikings battle the Wolverines for ball possession. Left to right, Hannah Starr, Stephanie Shaw, Mandy Turnbull, and Emily Diepenbrock.  - Jennifer Brennock photo
Vikings battle the Wolverines for ball possession. Left to right, Hannah Starr, Stephanie Shaw, Mandy Turnbull, and Emily Diepenbrock.
— image credit: Jennifer Brennock photo

After a hard-fought game, the Orcas Viking girls soccer team walked slowly from the field dejected after narrowly losing to Friday Harbor 2-3 on Thursday.

In the end, the players were in pain, both mental and physical, after suffering a "golden goal" made by Friday Harbor in extra time after the game lingered in a tie at the end of the second half.

The players of both teams had battled hard to the end.

"It was a beautiful game," assistant coach Bridget O'Toole said.

O'Toole commented the girls' improvement was outstanding and Friday Harbor had given the Vikings a difficult challenge.

Referee Tim Epps of Sedro-Woolley called the game a pleasure to ref.

"A very, very hard-fought game," Epps said.

Starting with a mild grey sky above, the game's first goal was made by Friday Harbor early in the half. The Vikings reacted with fierce play and two quick goals, one scored by Stephanie Shaw, the other by Lana Bronn. With another Friday Harbor score the game was tied 2-2 at the half.

The non-scoring second half intensified the battle. Above the field, the sky darkened to near black as the Vikings struggled to get a run on the Wolverine's goal. Just when the opportunity was ripe for scoring, a crowd-disputed call of off-sides stopped the Vikings cold.

With twenty minutes left to play, the Vikings were under pressure as well as doling it to the Wolverines. The players on both teams began to take more falls and tumbles, give more pushes and shoves. Their knees and foreheads met grass often and they began to get up slowly and shaking off limps.

As time remaining began to dwindle, both teams scrambled from goal to goal, desperate for the opportunity to score and asking more of their defenders.

A restless crowd of Viking fans had grown thickly on the sideline. They gave rally shouts of "Let's Go Vikings" that were echoed by a dooming cry of "Pur-ple Power" coming from across the field.

As the time passed into single digits, the Viking goal was defended by two headers, retaining the tie. Cries of "pressure" and "go-go-go" became less supportive and more imperative. Players made more mistakes, took more falls, and the sideline talk devolved into debates about the referee. The crowd had packed their chairs but were not leaving. The second half ended while the players were fighting off Friday Harbor at the Viking goal.

The tie would be broken by a "golden goal;" the first team to score in extra time would take home the win. The Wolverines returned to the field with the purple paws on their checks smudged, but they were exuberant and bounding, quicker to return to play. The spent Vikings fought for their golden goal but the Wolverines beat them to it. The goal that finally ended the game was scored by Wolverine Emma Ytander.

The Viking team couldn't react to the crowd's acknowledgment of their effort and tenacious play. They were reluctant to leave the field.

Just when they finally let go of the pursuit and returned to the bench without the victory, a hard rain finally began to fall on them.

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