Panthers hand cats seventh straight defeat

At 1-8-1 there’s no doubt it’s been a rough year for the Oak Harbor soccer team.

Looking past the record, however, the Wildcats have made drastic improvements since their opening weeks of the season.

“We’ve gotten better, we’ve gotten a lot better,” head coach Steve Barker said.

Oak Harbor showed just how much its improved on Thursday night against WesCo North powerhouse Snohomish. The Wildcats eventually lost 4-0, but showed significant improvement from the first time the teams met.

In their first contest nearly a month ago, the Panthers crushed the Cats 11-0 at Snohomish.

Despite Thursday’s loss, Oak Harbor kept themselves within reach of an upset over the league-leading Snohomish until midway through the second half.

“That was a very good team,” Barker said. “To hold them to four goals was a great accomplishment.”

Snohomish took only a 2-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, after Justin Abel and Tyler Cochran scored goals in the 15th and 17th minutes.

Senior goalkeeper Blake Ward did a tremendous job holding Snohomish to only two goals, making seven key saves in the first half.

“They weren’t easy saves either,” Barker said.

Sophomore Brian Wandell filled in at goalie in the second half and did an equally impressive job keeping the ball out of the net. Wandell made 10 saves in the second half and kept the score close until Snohomish finally slipped a goal by him in the 64th minute.

The Panthers’ Keegan Uderitz snuck behind the Oak Harbor defense on a throw-in and got in a one-on-one situation with Wandell for the score. Seth Wilson tacked on a goal minutes later on a deflected ball.

“Our keepers just did an outstanding job,” Barker said.

Oak Harbor’s offense, which has struggled all year, continued to falter on Thursday. The Cats were out-shot 29-5 and only got off one solid attempt on the goal.

Oak Harbor travels to Arlington today, April 17. The Eagles are the only team the Wildcats have recorded a win against this season. Junior varsity begins play at 11 a.m., followed by varsity at 1 p.m.

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