Cats soar to win over Eagles

Close games and one goal loses were the story for the Oak Harbor boys soccer team in their first go around with their WesCo North opponents.

“We were just snake bit like mad,” head coach Steve Barker said. “It’s a funny game, we’ve outplayed people and then gotten beat or tied in the last ten minutes of every loss except Lake Stevens.”

Proving just how rough the first half of the season was, seven of Oak Harbor’s first 11 games were decided by one goal or less. Of those seven games, the Wildcats won one, tied one and lost five.

The Cats finally received a breather Saturday afternoon, as they were able to turn on their cruise control against last place Arlington in a 4-1 victory.

The Eagles, who were missing six players due to prom, were forced to start Saturday’s game one man short.

Oak Harbor quickly took advantage of their shorthanded opponents on an unassisted goal from senior Grant Bull seven minutes into the first half.

Constantly applying pressure to the Eagle defense, Oak Harbor tacked on two more goals before halftime. Sophomore Bryan Fakkema added the second score halfway into the first after breaking loose in the box and placing the ball in the right corner of the net. With five minutes to go in the first half senior Cody Parker skied into the air and headed in the Cats’ third goal off a corner kick.

“Everybody played a lot better today,” Barker said. “We moved the ball much better, we two-touched it, we involved all our teammates.”

The under-manned Eagles didn’t receive any breaks as the game progressed. They lost two players to injury in the first half and one more in the second half.

“They were very brave guys,” Barker said. “They are to be complimented, that took a lot of guts.”

To create a level playing field Oak Harbor sent out the same number of players to start the second half, but continued to show their domination.

Senior defender Chris Potter saw his first action at the forward position this season and made the best of it. Hustling all over the field, he netted a goal after receiving a ricochet off the Arlington goalkeeper. The score drew the largest uproar of the game from the crowd.

“That was lovely to see Potter come off the bench,” Barker said. “He works very hard for us all season long and he deserved his run today. His teammates are also to be complimented for trying to set him up.”

Potter had a second goal in the bag, but it was taken away after he was called for offsides.

Arlington’s only score came off a penalty kick with seven minutes remaining in the contest.

“We should have gotten the shutout,” Barker said. “I was a little disappointed about that, but everything else was just wonderful.”

The focus for the Cats now shifts to the second half of the season. Prior to last night’s game against Marysville Oak Harbor was in sixth place in the WesCo North at 4-6-1, three points in the standings behind Mount Vernon. They need to finish no less than fifth place if they want to gain a playoff berth for the second year in a row.

“It’s going to be a long hard run from here,” Barker said. “We’ll see if we can do it.”

Oak Harbor plays at 7 p.m. this Friday, April 25, at home against second place Lake Stevens. Results from last night’s contest with Marysville will be in the Saturday edition of the News-Times.

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