Wolves' loss full of missed opportunities

Coupeville's Amanda d'Almeida uses her head in the Wolves' loss to Oak Harbor last Thursday.
— image credit: John Fisken photo

The score looked similar but the match wasn’t.

The Coupeville High School soccer team lost 2-0 to Oak Harbor in its season-opening match Thursday, Sept. 6, at Mickey Clark Field.

The “0” on the scoreboard has become a common sight for Coupeville in recent years, but Thursday’s lack of scoring wasn’t from a lack of offense.

The Wolves struggled to generate shots in the past, but first-year coach Dan d’Almeida’s new counter-attack offense created seven excellent scoring opportunities for the Wolves in the loss to Oak Harbor, but Wildcat goalie Makenzie Perry turned back each one.

The Wildcats started fast, getting three shots – one bounced off the left post – in the first minute.

The Wolves withstood the barrage, but couldn’t stop freshman Suzanne Kaltenbach’s boot nine minutes into the match.

Five minutes later, Lauryn Plush became the first Oak Harbor player in five years to score in back-to-back matches when she hit from 15 yards out to make it 2-0.

That ended the scoring but not the chances.

Four times in the first half, Coupeville’s Amanda d’Almeida, like a point guard guiding the fast break, dished the ball ahead to Madison Tisa McPhee, who used her state-caliber track speed to get behind the Oak Harbor defense.

Tisa McPhee had several point-blank shots but was denied by Perry.

In the second half, Coupeville keeper McKayla Bailey stopped the Oak Harbor charge but the Wolves weren’t able to cut into the Wildcat lead.

Tisa McPhee punched in a goal in the 56th minute but it was disallowed because of offsides.

Coach d’Almeida said Tisa McPhee “brought incredible energy and pace up front; she probably had the best first game that I have seen in my four years with the team.”

Oak Harbor coach Jeff Laiblin said, “We were really strong early on, then we got tired and the wheels fell off. Sometimes it wasn’t pretty, but they did what they had to do.”

D’Almeida was happy with Coupeville’s “possession time.”

He said for those who only look at the final score, the game may seem similar to past years, but the contest, with Coupeville’s scoring opportunities, was far from the former efforts.

He added, “I was very pleased that our players were able to adjust to a new game plan just the day before the match…In terms of quality opportunities, this might have been our best effort in several years.”

In addition to Tisa McPhee, d’Almeida lauded the play of Makana Stone, Jen Spark, Bailey and Micky Levine.

He added, “I was proud of our returning varsity players. They worked hard and really helped us to maintain control most of the game.”

Coupeville goes on the road for three matches, starting at Cedarcrest Tuesday, Sept. 11, and returns home with South Whidbey at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18.

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