Oak Harbor stuns Cascade

On paper nobody gave them a chance, but then again, games aren’t played on paper.

The Oak Harbor soccer not only got its first win of the season Thursday night, but they did it in grand fashion, upsetting one of the top teams in the WesCo North, Cascade, 2-1.

“Warriors, just plain warriors,” a hoarse and emotional OHHS head coach Steve Barker said, walking off Memorial Field. “They’ve played their hearts out all season, that’s all you need to know.”

Oak Harbor, who came into the game 0-8-1 and in last place, gave second-place Cascade fits from the get-go.

The Wildcats took the first two shots on goal and managed to keep the ball at the Bruins’ end of the field 50 percent of the time in the first half. A gritty effort by the defense and some key saves from OHHS goalkeeper Brian Wandell kept the game scoreless at halftime.

“Our defense is the one,” Wandell said. “We switched it from man-to-man to flatback, which just kills. The whole team just played like crazy.”

Cascade, who got blasted by head coach Daghan Kesim at halftime, came out fired up to start the second half.

The Bruins took five shots within the first 10 minutes, keeping constant pressure on the Wildcats.

OHHS had an answer for the Bruins’ aggressive attack, however, denying them time after time. Wandell stopped seven shots in the second half and the defense kept clearing the ball.

While Cascade took shot after shot, the Wildcats only had two scoring opportunities through the first 30 minutes. OHHS, however, proved it’s not the number taken, but the quality.

With unofficially 10 minutes left in the game, OHHS senior Bryan Fakkema took a cross from Fez Costa, faked a defender twice and placed the ball through the legs of the goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.

“Fez got the ball on the outside and he played a through ball and (Blake) Bebee let it go through his legs and then I mugged the guy and I got it right by the keeper,” Fakkema said.

It was Fakkema’s first goal of the season.

“It feels good, it feels really good,” he said. “We’ve been working really hard this year.”

Trying just to hold off the Bruins in the final minutes, Oak Harbor received another great opportunity. Wandell booted the ball down field from his own goal box. It bounced over the Cascade defensive line, setting up a one-on-one break for forward Blake Bebee. Bruins’ goalkeeper Phillip Thomas reached the ball first, trying to boot it away and clear it, but it deflected off of Bebee right into the net for a 2-0 lead.

Bebee immediately took his shirt off along with Wandell, who had a pact to do so if he scored. The players drew yellow cards and had to sit out a possession.

“It was well worth it,” Bebee said.

Cascade took advantage of Wandell being out of the net in the final minutes, taking a loose ball in the goal box on a scramble and putting it in for a score with less than two minutes to go. OHHS was able to hold off a couple more attempts and seal the win.

“They played courageous soccer,” Barker said. “I couldn’t be more proud, but we’ve got to win more games.”

The Wildcats play first place Snohomish at 1 p.m., today, April 23 at home.

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