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Reiter-Morton sees success in first week on the pitch

  • Written by Derek Johnson

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WOODINVILLE - When a program is on its third coach in four years, the need for stability nears DEFCON 1 status. After coach Andrew Croft stepped down last summer, the Woodinville program seemed adrift.

But the recent hiring of M’ily Reiter-Morton seems a step in the right direction. In her first week in charge, the Falcons went 2-0-1, beating Emerald Ridge 6-1, tying Redmond 1-1, and then knocking off Eastside Catholic 3-2.

Reiter-Morton likes what she sees from her new club.

“I feel like there is never going to be a game when these kids stop or quit,” she said. “That was one of the things I started to enjoy about them was their attitude. There are going to be some games where we’re not as talented as the other team -- but we’re going to hit them until the very end. I’m excited, it’s going to be a good year.”

A native of Billings, Mont., Reiter-Morton played soccer at Seattle University from 2007-2010 and continued playing professionally for the Seattle Sounders Women for six years.

She has coached Premier Youth Soccer for 10 years and was an assistant coach with the Washington Youth Soccer Elite Player Development Program. She also coached at Nathan Hale High School as the Girls Varsity Head Coach from 2010-2014. While there, she twice received Coach of the Year honors, and led her team to two undefeated seasons and Metro Titles.

“I’m a small-town girl who came to the big city,” Reiter-Morton said. “I wanted to get back into high school. I was missing the team camaraderie and being part of a big program and having fun with the girls. Then the job opened at Woodinville and I was like `I have to have that!’ I want to build a new culture there and have a winning program. This is my second week here and I already feel so connected to the girls and I love it.”

What stood out from last week’s Redmond match was how hard the Woodinville girls played.

“To get the most of the payers, they have to believe in you,” Reiter-Morton said. “They need to see that you’re invested in them. And I have been trying to show them how invested I am in them. The leadership from the seniors is great and I appreciate their effort.”

Going forward, what does she want to see from the team?

“Defending together as a unit,” Reiter-Morton said. “Staying compact. Knowing when to press and when to drop off... We need to work on our attacking presence. If we don’t let teams score on us that’s great. But we need more of a scoring mentality if we want to win games. That will come in the weeks ahead.”

Falcons lose more than a match to Seattle Prep

  • Written by Derek Johnson
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WOODINVILLE - It’s not often that a coach pauses an interview to turn away and wipe tears from her eyes.
 
But that was what Andrea Roelen did last Wednesday night at Woodinville High School. It came in the wake of a knee injury to setter Zoe Friedman. Friedman, a senior captain on this precariously young Woodinville team, went down during the third set of her teams’ 3-1 loss to Seattle Prep.   
 
"A coach always hates to see one her seniors, in her last year, go out with an injury when she’s playing her heart out,” Roelen said. “It looks pretty bad right now, but we have a great trainer and medical staff and they will do the best they can."
 
Friedman tore her ACL and is out for the season.
 
"I hate to see her go down like that as she is part of the core of the team. She and Cora [Lundquist] as our two setters know how to run the floor. Zoe has been working so hard. She means the world to us, one of our captains voted by the team. She’s a natural leader, it’s a blow definitely.” 
 
The loss left Woodinville with a 1-1 record, which included a rousing five-set victory over Ballard on September 9th.  
For Seattle Prep (1-0), it was a solid start to its season. The Lady Panthers were in control early, winning the first two sets 25-17 and 25-15.  
 
“Seattle Prep was serving us very tough and our serve receive was struggling,” Roelen said. “It’s the sign of a great team. When a team can serve you and move you around and you struggle to pass that ball  -- it makes it hard to attack. Kudos to them, they were very tough on the serve.” 
 
What was heartening was Woodinville’s level of fight. The Falcons trailed early in the third set before mounting a rally to tie it at 20-20. 
When Friedman fell to the floor, the Woodinville gym went silent. Coach Roelen knelt next to her fallen player and held her hand, while a trainer worked on the knee. The other girls in green gathered nearby with arms around each other, in a solemn sort of tribute.
 
After play resumed, Woodinville scratched and clawed to win the set 28-26. The home crowd and student section roared its approval, providing fuel to these young Lady Falcons.  
 
“It’s helpful to have the support of the fans”, Roelen said as she motioned toward the student section. “That group of guys and girls that were here the whole time, it was so helpful! We’re a young team and trying to put the pieces together. To have that loud support and love really helps our team... These kids don’t give up. These kids don’t quit. They’re surprising themselves. It’s exciting and we are learning a ton.” 
 
As the match went to a fourth set, Seattle Prep proved to be too much. The Panthers closed out the night 25-19.   
Coach Roelen praised the efforts of several players, including exciting young sophomore Alana Castaneda. 
 
“She’s hitting the ball very well from the outside and from the right side,” Roelen said. “And Cora [Lundquist] is connecting with her very well. We’re working with Alice Dibbo our 6‘2” middle on some timing things. She is learning daily and seeing how little mechanics changes and body changes helps her to be more effective. Ellie Nelson has not played middle and we shifted her to the middle. She is doing fantastic.” 
 
As the Falcons open up conference play this week against Skyline, thoughts remain with Zoe Friedman. 
 
“She’s a fantastic young lady,” Roelen said. “She emulates all the characteristics that I’m trying to grow in these girls. She’s active in ASB and she’s a great student. She’s a kid that the others can go to if they need support if they need comfort if they need encouragement. All those things, Zoe’s your girl! You want 12 of her on your team. And we’re going to stay hopeful for her and do whatever we can for her.”  

Fourth quarter rally lifts Falcons over Monroe

  • Written by Derek Johnson

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MONROE – For the Falcons, it was a far cry from the previous week. Seven days after destroying Balboa in the Bay Area, Woodinville was in Monroe – and trailing by double digits heading into the fourth quarter.

But the Falcons rose up in that final stanza tallying two touchdowns en route to a thrilling 21-20 win over the Bearcats.

“I absolutely loved the way our guys responded,” Woodinville coach Wayne Maxwell said. “They never stopped believing, right? They showed resilience, they never showed any doubt they could come back. They showed no panic. For a non-conference game and trying to make a run for postseason play, it was awesome to see what we saw tonight.”

Woodinville improved to 2-0 on the season, while Monroe fell to 1-1.

From the opening kickoff, Monroe’s home crowd was raucous and festive; their grandstand a sea of orange and black. And from the get-go, the Bearcats carved up the Falcon defense, led by running backs Blake Rybar and Gavin Newton.

On Monroe’s second possession, Rybar rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown, giving his team a 7-0 lead. On the next possession, the Bearcats were back in the red zone. But on 4th-and-2 from the 16-yard line, quarterback Gio Fregoso was sacked for a five-yard loss.

With 6:35 left in the second quarter, Monroe lined up to punt. Woodinville’s Isaac Fuiten roared in to block it, and Jaden Bolibol recovered on the Bearcat 15-yard line. Two plays later, Falcon running back Joey Johnson blasted through a big hole to score a 9-yard touchdown run. The PAT knotted the score 7-7.

Monroe took a 13-7 lead into halftime, thanks to a 3-yard run by Gavin Newton. The extra point was blocked.

Monroe seemed to take full control in the third quarter as the Bearcats drove 64 yards in 11 plays, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown plunge by Newton.

But on the first play of the fourth quarter, the tide suddenly turned when Woodinville quarterback Noah Stifle hit Jack Diskin with a 22-yard strike. Blake Glessner’s extra point trimmed the deficit to 20-14.

Monroe drove deep into Woodinville territory, but their field goal attempt was blocked by Cage Schenck.

The Falcons proceeded to drive 80 yards in five plays. Stifle faked a hand-off to Joey Johnson and found senior Drew Lozano all alone down the right sideline. The 5'8" senior hauled in the pass and raced 35 yards to pay dirt with the Woodinville sideline and Falcon fans screaming with delirious joy.

“I came out of the backfield, saw a little crease,” Lozano said. “Our guys [were] doing their job, play-action pass, they bit, and that was that! We game planned for it and it felt great!”

The Bearcats would mount one final drive into Falcon territory. But a QB sneak on fourth down was stuffed at the 28-yard line. Woodinville ran out the clock to capture the thrilling win.

"It took everything we had to get a W," coach Maxwell said. "They (Monroe) did a nice job with their O-line - they have some big boys up front. For us, we had some technical [issues] upfront. We gave them some run lanes and we weren’t fitting the way we should be."

The night could not conclude without highlighting Joey Johnson. As of this writing, the stats were not available. But the 5’7” 180-pound senior had at least 175 yards rushing on the night.

“Joey is kind of everything we’ve talked about with our team,” Maxwell said. “Just the grit and a guy where it doesn’t matter the situation. He’s all-out, all-go, big heart runs way bigger than he is. You can’t say enough good things about Joey.”

“I’ve got a good group of guys in front of me, and we’ve got good chemistry,” Johnson said. “The guys up front are the ones who start it all.”

Woodinville hits the road to Edmonds-Woodway Friday. The game gets underway at 5 p.m.

Falcons Tame The Barbary Coast with 51-0 win over Balboa

  • Written by Derek Johnson

The Woodinville Falcons 800-mile journey to San Francisco last week to start the season paid off big time as the team came away with a resounding 51-0 win over the Balboa Buccaneers. 

It was Woodinville’s first out-of-state contest since its win over Palmer, Alaska in 2013.

“I thought we came out and really executed very well,” Woodinville quarterback Noah Stifle said. “This whole off-season we prepared really well. This was a fun game to play in.”

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Cole Rogers recounts his trip to Lacrosse National Combine

  • Written by Derek Johnson

WOODINVILLE — Cole Rogers isn’t a kid who normally gets ruffled. But it was only natural for a 15-year old to feel nerves, as he sat on his cross-country flight.  

Rogers had been invited to represent Seattle in the US Lacrosse National Development Program for ages U15 at the US Lacrosse headquarters in Sparks, MD., Aug. 19-21. 

He was one of six Washington kids in his age group to get this opportunity. The combine’s purpose was to select the top kids for the U15 and U17 age groups. This would fill out the rosters for the national teams. The plan was to build a pipeline of athletes for Team USA as lacrosse looks to return to the Olympic Games as a medal sport. 

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