Vikings dominate districts

by Jefferson Freeman

Orcas High School student

District champions. That’s just another name for the 2021 Orcas Vikings.

The soccer team defeated Providence on Friday, Nov. 5 to capture their first-ever district title.

On their path to the district championship, the soccer team hit the road on Monday, Nov. 1 to face undefeated and number one ranked Crosspoint Academy in Silverdale. A game featuring two of the top teams in the state was going to be close and both teams knew this coming in. Neither side was going to give anything away in a game this important. Both teams stayed strong defensively in the first half allowing neither club to get a lead. The strong defense gave neither side any opportunities to net the first goal until late in the second half. An Orcas throw was deflected to the midfield where Sam Sutton hit a brilliant top corner strike to give the Vikings a crucial first goal.

Trailing for the first time all season Crosspoint knew they needed a score and shifted their focus to the attack. Heavy pressure from Crosspoint eventually got what they needed as a scramble at the top of the box led to Crosspoint squeaking the ball past the outstretched hand of Keeper Paxton White to even the score. Regulation time expired without either team being able to find anything else on offense and the Vikings found themselves facing overtime yet again. This would mean yet another high-stakes shootout.

Crosspoint got the first opportunity but couldn’t capitalize after a brilliant save by Paxton White. Viking Co-Captain Tommy Anderson-Cleveland took the first Orcas penalty and left no doubt, smashing it back of the net. Crosspoint stepped up for their second shot needing a score if they wanted a chance in the contest but was unable to put the ball on target. William Ibarra was second in line for the Vikings and unlike the Crosspoint shooter put the ball where it needed to go giving the Vikings a 2-0 advantage.

Crosspoint’s third shooter needed a score to give his team any chance to stay in the game and he did just that. The Vikings hadn’t missed a penalty kick yet and Diego Lago kept that streak going with a beautifully taken shot. Crosspoint converted their next shot and put the game in the hands of the Vikings’ Pedro Guerro. Luckily Guerro was the right man for the job leaving Crosspoint’s keeper lost and on the ground to send the Vikings to their first-ever district championship game.

Riding high off their shootout win over Crosspoint the Vikings traveled to Everett to take on first ranked Providence Classical Christian in the teams’ third meeting of the year. The Vikings won in their first meeting 2-0 on Orcas Island, while Providence got a 4-1 win in Bothell. With a district championship on the line, both teams showed up ready to play their best game possible. The defense would be the name of the game with neither team setting themselves apart with a goal. 0-0 was the score at the half, and again the score after 80 minutes. Yet again

Orcas would go to overtime to shoot PKs with the game on the line. Providence got the first shot and slotted it into the bottom left corner. Anderson-Cleveland led off for the Vikings and sniped one to the same spot. 1-1. Another Providence shooter, another perfectly placed ball. Ibarra stepped up for Orcas, caught the keeper guessing, and kept it even at two. Providence’s third shooter found the bottom left corner as it became increasingly obvious that Providence was just as ready for this as Orcas. Lago stepped up to the clutch moment and delivered for the Vikings. Providence made it 4-3 before Sam Sutton placed a ball in the top corner giving the keeper zero chance of even getting a hand on it. 4-4. The fifth Providence shooter scored yet again, but Ethan Moss stepped up with the game on the line and tied the score 5-5. In the 6th round keeper White made a grand play snatching the ball out of the air to give Orcas a chance to get the win. A ball from Cadence Kraayeveld missed off the crossbar by mere inches, keeping the game alive. Eggshells. The Providence keeper found the back of the net meaning that the Vikings needed a goal yet again.

Guerro stepped up and channeled the clutch energy he displayed against Crosspoint to keep the game alive: 6-6. In the eighth round of shooting, White made another massive save to give the fate of the District Championship to Viking senior Toby Smith. Everyone was waiting for the shot, the big play to win it all, and Smith delivered. The crowd exploded like fireworks, the team rushed the field and the Vikings were district champions. Orcas now heads to the State Championship Tournament where they will take on Puget Sound Adventist on Friday, Nov. 12 at Anacortes High School. If you can’t make it, tune in to the live stream on the Orcas Island Booster Facebook page.