Friday Harbor High School boys and girls soccer teams are off to state after successful consecutive conference matches.
Oct. 31 marked the girls’ soccer team’s last conference match and acted as their gateway to state.
Even though they lost 3-1 against Mt. Vernon Christian, coach Kevin Cullen described it as a great match that could have gone either way. “Coming into this game, our focus was on improvement and mental toughness, but from the first whistle, these ladies played an inspiring game of soccer,” he said. “They went toe-to-toe with arguably the best 2B team in the state and battled them for the full 80 minutes.”
While he was not able to sub as much during this game as he normally likes to, Cullen said that he would like to thank those who were on the bench for their great spirit and uplifting attitudes, boisterously cheering on the rest of the team.
In regard to those who did play, he said, “I need to give special mention to Ava Martin and Grace Eltinge, filling in on defense, as well as Stella Carli, scoring her first varsity goal in her first varsity game.”
He said the team’s effort and grit set them up well for Monday’s district playoff.
The boys soccer team also secured their spot in state after a 1-0 win against Grace Academy High School and a 5-4 win against Auburn Adventist Academy.
Coach Brett Paul said, “It was a breakthrough moment this past week to put five goals away against Auburn Adventist to solidify our spot at state.”
Paul explained that although they qualified for state, the team has had a fair amount of both winning and losing this year.
“We’ve done well in many parts of our game but have struggled to consistently create goal scoring opportunities throughout the season,” he said.
To make up for that, the team has been focused on keeping a tight and composed formation on defense, controlling the pace of the game with simple and consistent passing, and generally has been playing with creativity and enthusiasm.
For their most recent game against Auburn Adventist, Jasper Williamson put away the first goal off a well-placed 40-yard free kick within the first four minutes, Bryce Borquist made a great header off a corner kick in the middle of the first half for our second goal, and Mateo Zappelli had a really strong offensive performance as he created many of our goal scoring opportunities with creative runs and passing as well as putting away a goal in the second half. Cole Curtis also played exceptionally well by putting away two of our five goals, one off a nice follow up shot and the other an exceptional header off a corner kick to the back post. Goalie Luke Totten was a fortress in front of the net and has time and again, made many saves to keep the team in the game, said Paul.
The team does not yet know who they will be up against for state, so Paul encourages the community to keep an eye on the San Juan Island School District website to support them.
“It was really exciting to play our state qualifying match at the same time and location as our girls high school varsity soccer team,” he said. “Both the boys and girls won their games to qualify for state and the bus ride home was a fun celebration!”