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Slideshow: 2021 Orcas Island are State Champs Nov. 20, 2021

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SLIDESHOW: Orcas Island soccer team follows winning script to 1st state championship

  • Written by Matt Pranger

Orcas Island’s soccer team clinched the 2021 Class 1B/2B State Championship Nov. 20 as if wrapping up a Hollywood script. The team finished the season winning three of four matches by shootout. The Vikings avenged their only two losses of the season by defeating cross-water rival Friday Harbor 2-0 in the Nov. 19 semifinal and then came from behind for a 2-1 (4-3) victory over Providence Classical Christian in the title match.

“We pushed through everything, the losses and the wins and everything,” said senior captain Cadence Kraayeveld during the post-match celebration at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. “I even called that we were winning. It’s awesome to be No. 1.”

A teammate called out: “It’s like a movie,” Kraayeveld concurred, “Exactly, it’s a movie.”

In the Vikings’ version of this blockbuster, Terry Turner would be the unflappable, veteran coach who worked 23 years to hoist a state champion hardware.

Viking coach Terry Turner. Photos by Matt Pranger

“This is such a great bunch of kids and what better for a win in a state championship game than a win coming from behind,” Turner said. “I’m just so proud of these kids.”

The ensemble cast would be overjoyed after their teamwork carried them further than most predicted.

Orcas Island coaches and team captains. Matt Pranger photos

“This is one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt in my life,” said junior captain Diego Lago. “We came into the season losing a strong senior class. A lot of people had their doubts about how far we would go, doubted if we would even get to state.”

The Viking players believed in their own success story.

“When we won that first game in state we knew the train was rolling and we were going at it with everything we had,” said Lago. “We knew we had the momentum and we carried it through. Now we’re champs and we feel great.”

“I’m really proud of everybody else on the team and what we accomplished and everything we pushed through and worked our way up to No. 1,” said junior captain Paxton White.

Of course all great sports flicks feature a rally over a potent rival.

“Last time we played Providence they had home advantage. They really wanted it, they wanted it bad, so we had to come back wanting it twice as hard as they wanted it,” junior captain Anderson-Cleveland said of the Vikings’ 1-0 (7-6) victory over the Highlanders in the District 1/2 Championship. “So that’s what we did again tonight. They were up until the last few minutes. We didn’t stop, we didn’t stop.”

Although down, the courageous cast would persevere through adversity.

“I’m really proud of our defense and how hard we stuck at it,” Turner said. “It just took such a lot of willpower for those kids to come back like that. I loved how we got the momentum back.”

“We let them get the better of us, we let them play their game but. we took it back,” Lago said. “Once we started playing our game we started getting on a roll.”

Anderson-Cleveland would be the character who makes the miraculous shot at the film’s turning point. He scored the tying goal on a cross from Kraayeveld.

“He headed it back against the flow and it popped right in there,” Turner said, shaking his head in wonder.

And most classic pictures conclude with the heroes showcasing their mental fortitude.

“It came down to mindset towards the end of the game,” White said. “They started thinking that they had it and we kept pushing through, got the goal, fought through to the PKs and finished it there.”

And the final scene features elation.

“I feel amazing,” Kraayeveld said.

“I’m feeling great,” White said.

“This is one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt in my life,” Lago said.

“I’m so happy. The happiest I’ve ever been,” Anderson-Cleveland said.

- Story and game photos by Matt Pranger

- Eastsound photos courtesy of Justin Paulsen


1 comment

  • Sue Aronson Thursday, 25 November 2021 07:43 Comment Link Report

    Congratulations ? enjoy and be thankful

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