After a rugged start this spring, the Coupeville High School soccer team won its second straight match, eking by visiting Sultan 1-0 Friday, April 19.
Coach Paul Mendes said going in he knew it would be a "tough, close game" because the two teams battled through a shootout the first time they met March 29. The Turks (2-9, 3-10) pulled out that match 2-1.
Mendes was spot on in his prediction. Sultan and Coupeville produced a nail-biter, and, finally, with 13 minutes left, Josh Wilsey scored to lift the Wolves to their first Cascade Conference win.
Mendes said the goal was set up by a five-pass combination play between Tanner Kircher, Sean Donley, Jeremy Copenhaver and Wilsey.
Copenhaver, with his back to the goal 20 yards out, used a "brilliant" heal pass, Mendes said, to slip the ball through to Wilsey.
Wilsey found himself one-on-one with Turk goalie Danny Arroyo for a second time. Earlier in the match Wilsey, on a breakaway, blasted a shot off the upper right cross bar in a near miss in the first confrontation.
This time Arroyo made a save on a point-blank shot, but Wilsey struck again on the rebound, driving home the goal.
The match was intense all night, but after the goal the battle grew even more tense. Both teams faced scary moments, but Coupeville's defense held up, led by "Luke Pelant's ability to plug up the holes at key moments," Mendes said.
The blank sheet was the second by Coupeville this year and the first for goal keeper Joel Walstad.
"He stepped up to the challenge and played a fine match," Mendes said.
Walstad earned the shutout, but Arroyo also played an outstanding match, Mendes said, with "numerous acrobatic saves."
Most of the Wolves' scoring chances came in the second half. Along with Wilsey's breakaway, Copenhaver earned an excellent scoring opportunity by defeating two defenders and rocketing a shot from 18 yards out that Arroyo deflected away.
Mendes said, "We combined a good offensive game, generating better possession and a lot of shots, along with a solid defensive performance for this win. It took a lot of hard work and a real team effort. I am quite proud of the boys."
The Wolves (1-10, 2-11) will attempt to add to their win streak at Archbishop Murphy (9-2, 10-2-1) at 6 p.m. Monday, April 22.