Seagulls shut out Wildcats

How much more difficult can back-to-back soccer games be?

Coming off a 3-0 loss to Snohomish, the league-leading WesCo North team on Thursday, Oak Harbor had the daunting task of playing Everett Saturday afternoon.

The Seagulls were also undefeated and tied for the top spot in the league and in addition to everything else, the Wildcats were playing their first-ever game on the new turf at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Although the home crowd didn’t compare to the multitude that thronged into the stadium for the first football game Sept. 7, the fans were loud and enthusiastic in their support of the team.

However, Everett simply had more experience and when Hannah Hawkins scored a goal one minute into the game, that turned out to be the only point the Seagulls would need in picking up a 5-0 victory.

The loss drops the Wildcats’ season record to 1-2, while the Seagulls took over sole possession of first place in the WesCo North at 5-0.

Oak Harbor coach Steve Barker said despite the score he was proud of they way the team played and didn’t give up.

“The great thing about it was the girls kept their composure, kept their heads and kept fighting,” he said.

Everett scored its second goal at the 11-minute mark and the first of two goals by Annie Sittauer two minutes later made the score 3-0.

In the waning moments of the first half, the Seagulls put two more balls in the net.

Sele Vance scored with eight minutes left until the break and Sittauer’s second goal at the 36-minute mark gave Everett a 5-0 halftime advantage.

“Their first touch of the ball was impeccable, their passing was intelligent and their running was intelligent,” Barker said.

In the second half, Oak Harbor’s defense tightened up and held Everett scoreless for the final 40 minutes of the game.

“The second half was a big improvement,” Barker said. “Once we got organized, we played reasonably well. I pulled out four of my starters so they could come over to the sideline and get a look at what was going on. Sometimes that helps. It was a game that we learned things from.”

Oak Harbor’s next home game is at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Lake Stevens.

New field pleases team

Despite being soundly defeated in their first game on the turf at Wildcat Memorial Stadium, seniors on the Oak Harbor soccer team said they liked the new playing surface and were especially proud that the school now has such a beautiful athletic venue.

“The field is really cool, but it’s definitely going to take some getting used to,” Alyssa Merriman said. “It’s nice to have a new stadium, but it was kind of nerve racking to play on it for the first time. Still, it was exciting out there.”

Merriman said one of the big adjustments she is going to have is getting used to the bits of black rubber they use to cushion the turf.

“By the time the game was over, my cleats were packed with them,” she said. “It’s going to take some time to get them all packed down.”

Brooke DeWitt said playing on the new field was amazing.

“It’s nice just to have a place that other teams can come and see that we have something to play on,” she said. “It’s a good field and a lot better than the other field that wasn’t so nice.”

DeWitt said the surface of the field is soft and is perfect for soccer.

“It doesn’t hurt when you slide tackle and it doesn’t burn,” she said.

Goalkeeper Kelli Roberts said she had to make some major adjustments in her play on the new surface.

“It’s different being a goalkeeper on this playing surface,” she said. “What the ball does is it takes one high bounce on you and then it dies quicker. It’s finally nice to have an establishment that we can be proud of. Old Memorial Field had its legacy, but it’s time to create a new one.”

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