by Jefferson Freeman
Orcas Island High School student
After a dominating win over Sound Christian, the Vikings’ soccer team looked to kick off their inter-league schedule.
Road trips to both La Conner and Mount Vernon would show the Vikings a lot about the upcoming season. La Conner had proved to be a challenging task last time the Vikings visited as a late comeback was required for them to escape with a win. La Conner entered the game with the same plan. Don’t allow a goal. In all fairness, their strategy worked, holding the Vikings to just 1 goal via open play, a number the La Conner managed to match.
However, the Vikings found a way. Early in the game Orcas got a free kick that instead of setting up, senior captain Tommy Anderson-Cleveland made a heads-up play to play a quick pass to Co-Captain Diego Lago running behind the line. Lago successfully beat the keeper and placed the ball in a waiting net. With a lead of only 1-0 Orcas needed to extend it to get comfortable and that’s exactly what they got when a brilliantly taken corner from Sam Sutton found Lago soaring through the box to knock home a header giving the Vikes a 2-0 lead.
That would be the score taken into the half. Battle was not done there, as there remained 40 minutes of the game to be played. The Vikings understood this and continued to push. About halfway through the second half, their efforts were rewarded as a free kick was given and Anderson-Cleveland got the opportunity.
It was far from wasted as Anderson-Cleveland found the top of the net, far out from the keeper’s reach to take a 3-0 advantage. With less than 10 minutes remaining the Vikings broke the open play drought as an end-line cross from Andrew Garcia found Anderson-Cleveland who added on to an already impressive day. La Conner managed to get one back on a trivial no-call from officials but it would prove far from enough as the Vikings returned home victorious by the score of 4-1.
Friday saw one of the toughest games on the schedule. A road visit to MVC was a game that had been a struggle last season, with the Vikings needing penalty kicks to win after regulation ended 0-0. This game would be of a similar fashion as a trip to MVC could be counted on for an intense and physical game. Offensively the Vikings were able to push back the Hurricane defense but unable to get the final ball in. MVC was able to take advantage and pushed back with quick counterattacks to catch the Vikings sleeping, alas both squads failed to complete the offensive goal, and both defensive lines held strong. The first half would see more fouls than shots on target. Going to the half both teams knew someone would crack, the only question was who. Both teams came out of the half looking for the winner. The fight continued as both teams drew nearer and nearer. Finally half through the half, it broke open. Sam Sutton found a ball through to Kevin Ibarra who for the first time in the match found the back of the net. MVC needed an equalizer and they pushed for one, but the Vikings held strong on the back line keeping the scoreline clean and taking home a 1-0 victory. Tuesday is potentially the biggest regular season game of the season as the Friday Harbor Wolverines come to town for a rivalry showdown.