The Friday Harbor High School fall sports teams were on fire this year. Both girls and boys soccer will be competing in the state tournaments, with the girl’s team being thus far undefeated. The football team made it to district.
“Going undefeated, winning league, winning district,” said Paul Hopkins, girls soccer coach, listing off some of the seasons highlights, noting that each and every player has been important. Their biggest rival, for years, has been La Conner, Hopkins had said at the beginning of the season. According to Hopkins, the school has an incredible coach with outstanding players. Friday Harbor, however, was able to beat them consistently this year.
Saturday, Nov. 10, they lost their first game of the season, and first game at state, 1-0 to Adina Pirates.
“Adna came out fast and landed a goal within the first five minutes, which proved to be the only score in the entire match. The game was tight throughout and very physical, but goalkeeper Hannah Van Every must be credited with an incredible game, keeping the aggressive Pirates to that single goal,” said Claudia Mills, Journal sports contributor, adding that Van Every was supported by back line defenders Natalie Meenan, Fionnula Bourne, and Jayna Ott. The Lady Wolverines played especially well in the second half and never let up, Mills said.
“They have been a true ‘team,’” he said. “They all work hard and focus on the prize and not the distractions.”
The Wolverines will be losing 10 players this year; nine are seniors who will be graduating, and another is a foreign exchange student. However, Hopkins said, besides the returning players, there are a number of up and coming stars currently on the JV team. As far as next year is concerned, Hopkins plans on continuing a simple strategy
“We are a ball-control and build-from-the-back team. If you have the basics you can be successful,” he explained.
According to Andy Duke, boys soccer coach, the biggest highlight was holding Orcas scoreless and beating them in overtime at the district playoffs in Anacortes. He is particularly proud of goalkeeper Jack Knapik, and the entire defense players with a special shout-out to Henry Duke who anchored the back line, Isaac Parker as center back and Joseph Kaden, stepping up to center back, Joseph Kaden left back and Ben Dillery as right back.
The team goal this year was to make it to state, which they accomplished. They lost their first game, however, Saturday, Nov. 10 against Riverside Christian 3-2.
“The Wolverines were up 2-1 in the first half, where Senior Yadir Plaza kicked in the first goal from the top of the box; the second goal was scored off a corner kick by Plaza, headed in by Luke Erickson,” said Mills, Journal sports contributor , adding that the goalkeepers were kept busy the entire match, with both teams making on-target shots. The Riverside Crusaders took advantage of weaknesses in the Wolverines’ defense during the second half, however, to come out on top.
Next year the team will lose six strong senior players. Duke is anticipating the need to rebuild defense since three of the four current defense team members are seniors. However, he also is looking forward to working with the players who do return.
“Emmet Carrier and Nick Herko I expect to dominate players next year in the midfield. Both should be named first team all-league players,” he added, continuing on that he couldn’t be more pleased with the work and continual effort of this year’s entire team.
“The senior class has stepped up to show real leadership, and I am proud of their accomplishments. No matter how the season ends, we will see it as a tremendous season,” Duke said.
Friday Harbor High School’s football team also had an amazing year and succeeded in making it to the district playoffs. Tuesday, Nov. 6, however, the team lost to Concrete, bringing the season to an end.
Both teams were tied for first place in the Northwest 1B and 2B League with league records of 3-1. The Wolverines were 6-3 and the Lions 4-6.
The winner of the two-quarter game on Nov. 6 advanced to the 2B State Tournament and will take on top-seeded Adna on either Nov. 9 or 10.
“The guys worked extremely hard. They earned the victories and came together as a team,” coach Brock Hauck said, adding that even though the season did not end the way they would have liked, the students are already thinking about next year.
“The kids are motivated to get in the weight room and start preparing for next season,” Hauck said, extending gratitude to the coaching staff, parents and community in making the season a positive one.
Hopkins also thanked the community, noting people attend in sometimes miserable weather conditions yet their cheering can be heard from clear on the other side of the large field.
“This has to be the best place to coach or be a player. Parents go above and beyond to make each season special,” he said.