Sports

Wildcats just short of upset

Mere inches kept the Oak Harbor soccer team from arguably its biggest win of the season, resulting instead in a 2-1 home loss to Cascade on Tuesday night.

“We had a chance to win,” OHHS head coach Steve Barker said. “They got lucky and somebody’s foot was in the way.”

Barker was referring to one of three Oak Harbor shots that appeared to be on its way to a score, only to miss at the last moment.

The aforementioned opportunity came on a corner kick with unofficially two minutes to go in the game. With the ball loose in the box and the Bruin goalkeeper out of position, senior forward Ali Kavandi saw a wide open net in front of him. He fired his shot, which sailed off the foot of an unaware Cascade defender and over the goal.

“There was no way anyone was going to stop that other than by accident—that’s what happened,” Barker said.

Oak Harbor’s other two near goals came in the opening four minutes of the game. The first chance came via a penalty kick from the right side of the field by junior midfielder Bryan Fakkema. Fakkema found Coupeville sophomore Micah Einterz open for a header that just clanked off the left upper-v of the net.

Minutes later midfielder Kelly Garcia booted a lob shot from about 20-yards out. The ball went over the goalkeeper’s head, first hitting the bar, then appearing to drop straight down over the goal line.

“The kid was standing three or four steps inside the goal, holding the ball out, but he was still well inside the net,” Barker said of Cascade’s goalie.

The game remained scoreless at halftime and not without the help of the Wildcats’ goalkeeper Brian Wandell. The sophomore had a remarkable 12 first-half saves.

“He kept us in the game,” Barker said.

Cascade’s Stefan Tangen finally slipped one past Wandell three minutes into the second half on a one-on-one penalty kick situation. The free kick was a result of a tripping penalty inside the Wildcat goal box.

OHHS answered the Bruins in the 65th minute on a perfectly crossed penalty kick from Fakkema to forward Blake Ward, who headed the ball in the back of the net.

“That was beautiful,” Barker said.

The Bruins countered only two minutes later, as Bryan Kaleiwahea scored off a ricochet to put Cascade up for good.

Despite falling to 2-11-1, Barker is happy with the improvements the Cats have made in the second half of the season.

“They’ve gotten better and better all season long,” he said.

One doesn’t have to look far for proof, as Oak Harbor lost its first meeting of the year, 8-0, to Cascade.

The Wildcats host Monroe in the final game of the season at 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 4. Junior varsity begins play at 5 p.m.

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