by Corey Wiscomb
Despite a slow start to the match with Orcas losing the first set to Concrete, the Lady Vikings volleyball team solidly defeated the Concrete Lions in four sets.
To their credit, Concrete played a solid match, rarely missing a serve and consistently returning any easy volleys sent over the net. For the Lady Vikings to score, they had to do so with consistent quality play and strong hits that would not allow easy returns.
In the first set, it appeared that the Vikings had underestimated the quality of the Lions. After the lost set, Coach Rachel Wilson raised the energy in the huddle and returned focus to performing the caliber of play that they expect from themselves, no matter who the opponent. Orcas handily won the next two sets.
Concrete dug its heels in during the fourth set in an attempt to push the match to a fifth and final set. The Lions led the game until just before scoring 20. Senior Alecia Talbot ramped up a final surge after a kill that brought the team within 1 point. From there Orcas took the lead and confidently closed the final set to take the match. It was an excellent win against a league opponent.
Thirty-nine and doing fine. That’s right, the Orcas soccer team’s home field win streak is still going and up to 39 in a row now. The streak extends over several seasons and has become a moniker for excellence to remind the team each time they enter into a game that today and this moment really matter.
This weekend Orcas added the most recent victory against a very physical La Conner team ranked #8 in the state and hungry for a big win.
The first half was testy for both teams as each seemed to dip its toe in the water rather than dive in. Alas, Orcas did find the back of the net for one goal in the first half and held a 1-0 lead for much of the game.
During the second half of play a questionable penalty was called on the Vikings for what appeared to be a textbook clean slide tackle. The result was a 1-on-1 vis-a-vis between a La Conner player and goalkeeper Paxton White. White heroically dove to the upper corner of the goal and deflected the ball away in a move that would send a ripple of cheers through the homecoming crowd that had amassed.
When asked postgame about the dramatic save White had this to say, “I really rely on my posts and telling them to send it out. It’s really about looking where they’re going to shoot it before, just making it instinct after they kick it.”
Despite the herculean effort, La Conner was able to find the net and even the game at 1-1 later in the second half. Orcas did not back down and did not shy away.
Mere moments later Ethan Moss drove a beautiful shot into the corner of the goal to give the team the lead back. And team co-captain Tommy Anderson-Cleveland would power in another score on a distant penalty kick just before time expired. The Vikings finished the game ahead 3-1 and still ranked #1 in the state in 2B/1B play.
Coach Turner praised his team’s effort and tenacity while also finding the areas for future improvement.
“We should have done more attacking in the first half,” he said. “We had possession but we didn’t translate that into dangerous attacks on the goal. After halftime, the team did a better job pressuring the goal. That was one of those games where you go, okay, so we had most of the possession but they tied the score with a single goal. We knew they were going to be very physical and I’m glad we really stepped it up there late.”