by Jefferson Freeman
Orcas High School student
The Orcas Vikings soccer team is heading to the state semifinals this weekend.
After securing the league title, the Vikings got a matchup with the Auburn Adventist Falcons in the district playoffs on Nov. 1. Traveling to Sedro-Woolley the Vikings were the acting home team for that matchup — facing an Auburn team that was playing their best ball of the season but had fallen to second in their league.
The Falcons came out strong and proved to be a brute reminder of what playoff soccer looked like. This would prove no issue to the Vikings, however, as Diego Lago would get on the end of a corner from Sam Sutton to give the Vikings an early 1-0 lead. Lago would spend the rest of the night anchoring the back line as they held onto a clean sheet and a 1-0 victory.
The district final would match the Vikings with their rival Friday Harbor Wolverines on Nov. 5. Sutton’s screamer from the edge of the box would give the Vikings a lead but the Wolverines would equalize, taking the game to extra time and eventually penalties that would go eight rounds with the Wolverines winning, 5-4.
The Vikings moved on to the first round of state playoffs on Nov. 11. The matchups were as follows: Friday Harbor vs. Puget Sound Adventist; Upper Colombia Academy vs. Mount Vernon Christian; Orcas Island vs Evergreen Lutheran; and Saint George’s vs. Auburn Adventist.
Friday Harbor would beat Puget Sound on a free kick late in the first half went in and the Sharks hit the crossbar in the final minutes. The upset of the tournament would come as MVC scored the final two goals of their match to be second-ranked Upper Colombia, 2-1. Saint George’s and Auburn would need penalty kicks to decide a winner and it would be Saint George’s sneaking by.
The Vikings would be on the favorable side of the day’s most lopsided matchup, as they won 6-1. Nicholas Rivera got the first goal, banging one in from the top of the box. Evergreen would get the next goal to make it 1-1 but it was no worry for the Vikings as Ethan Moss found Tommy Anderson-Cleveland who would score the go-ahead. Anderson-Cleveland quickly got another goal after receiving a pass from Kevin Ibarra Garcia, dribbling through a mass of Evergreen defenders and essentially putting a nail in the coffin. The fourth goal would come via Jefferson Freeman as Sutton led him into wide open space and the Vikings’ fourth goal. Freshman Anthony Conejo would get the fifth goal in his playoff debut.
Anderson-Cleveland’s goal celebration was one of the highlights of the game, as he paid tribute to former Viking Skyler Gregg, who was recently killed serving in the defense of Ukraine. The Vikings wore black bands and will continue to do so in honor of Gregg’s memory and sacrifice.
After the victory against Evergreen, the Vikings move on to the state semifinals. The team will play Mount Vernon Christian on Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. at the Renton Memorial Stadium.