“Isaac Bailey and The Flying Squirrel” may sound like some obscure rock band from the 1960s, but last Wednesday it was Woodinville’s formula for success on the soccer field.
Led by the scoring of Isaac Bailey and the frenetic, madhouse intensity of Tate Nordhoy, the Woodinville Falcons beat Garfield 1-0 in a game played at Woodinville High School.
The win raised the Falcons’ KingCo record to 2-2-2, and 5-4-2 overall.
“The players are starting to believe in themselves and in the system,” Woodinville coach Nathan Davis said. “And the more confident we get the better we’re going to be.”
After a scoreless first half, the Falcons drew first blood seven minutes into the second stanza. Eric Urstad got possession of the ball and started running toward two Garfield defenders. He quickly blew past them and into the open field, setting up a one-one-one confrontation with Garfield goalie Cameron Hazzard. But a Bulldog defender reached from behind, and horse-collared Urstad to the turf. Oddly enough, the referees issued a yellow card as opposed to a red card, a fact which sent the Woodinville team into a tizzy.
But after Coach Davis pleaded his case to no avail, it was time for the subsequent free kick. And that’s when Falcon Isaac Bailey drilled a shot over Hazzard’s outstretched arms and into the net for the game’s only goal.
Bailey ran toward the Woodinville bench thumping his chest, as teammates swarmed him in celebration.
“It was absolute joy,” Bailey said. “The fans always come out to support us and it’s great to put one in there for them. It felt good. It came off the boot real nice.”
“It was one of our only opportunities going forward in this game,” Davis said. “We had seen their videos online and knew their goalie was short and had trouble with high balls. So it was just a matter of keeping [the free kick] on frame and we would get our goal.”
From that point forward, the Falcons preserved the win by keeping Garfield at bay the rest of the way. Much of that stemmed from the superlative effort of Nordhoy. At times he was an astonishment — speeding and careening across the field at breakneck speed; his diminutive frame defying gravity while his shoulder-length blonde hair splayed behind him like a vapor trail. Oftentimes he appeared from seemingly nowhere, scampering directly into the path of an oncoming opponent to strip the ball away and gum up the works, before veering off in another direction — much like... well ... a flying squirrel.
When asked about his temporary new nickname, Nordhoy laughed and shrugged.
“I think it’s sweet playing that way, because it’s nice going in hard like that,” he said.
When asked about the cohesiveness of this year’s team, Nordhoy nodded.
“We actually communicate together and have gotten to know each other a lot more this year,” he said. “We have pasta feeds [before most games] where we sing along with a piano and guitar and it brings us together. It’s awesome. We’re a good team. We’re always progressing, never giving up. We can only go forward from here.”