By SARA MILLER
Kitsap News Group
The South Kitsap Wolves boys soccer team topped the Graham Kapowsin Eagles 3-0 in a chilly battle March 11 at Kitsap Bank Stadium.
Although head coach Cory Vartanian said his team didn’t bring their best game to the pitch, the Wolves won rather comfortably against their SPSL opponent.
It’s a great win; it always feels good to win,” Vartanian said.
“I thought we could have come out with a little more energy in the first half, but the boys responded well in the second and put two quick ones on the board. Then, basically we just sat back, parked the bus and took the victory home.”
After what started out as an even matchup in the first few minutes, the Wolves quickly took advantage on the opposite end.
Senior captain Jacob Ostrowski sent a ball to Alex Cryder, who used his speed to race toward the keeper. Isaiah Derrickson from Graham Kapowsin, however, was able beat Cryder to the ball and cleared it out for an SK throw-in.
Quinn Dick of South Kitsap was strong and consistent at the back line for the Wolves and helped keep the Eagles scoreless throughout the game.
A free kick by captain David Mansfield of the Wolves at the 42-yard line was directed to Ostrowski, but Derrickson was yet again able to get his hands on the ball just in time to keep the match scoreless.
Mansfield calmly controlled the ball in center midfield and consistently found his teammates’ feet to give the Wolves the majority of possession.
In the 11th minute, Jackson Kambich found Ostrowski on top of the box.
Ostrowski slipped a ball through the backline to captain Grant Larson. Larson then flicked the ball with the outside of his foot toward goal. Derrickson came out and made the block, however, but the deflected ball rebounded into his own player and bounced into the goal, providing the Wolves a 1-0 lead.
South Kitsap came close striking again when Larson sent a ball over the top of the defense to Eduardo De LaCruz, who was running through the backline.
De LaCruz went one-on-one with the keeper, but the offsides flag was raised to end the drive.
With more drives going forward, the Wolves continued to knock on Graham Kapowsin’s goal with shot after shot.
The Eagles had a close chance of their own when a through ball split the Wolves’ defense and Nathaniel Velez of Graham Kapowsin chased after it.
Alex Hutchison, who played in the net for the Wolves the entire game, was able to scoop the ball up at the top of the box.
A minute later, they had another opportunity when a bouncing ball heading toward the backline connected with Graham Kapowsin’s Nik Narramore, who hit a half volley that sailed just over the cross bar.
Derrickson made a big save for the Wolves with 12 minutes to go in the first half as Larson cut through the defense, one-on-one. Larson shot the ball with his left heading back post when Derrickson came out big and blocked the goal, keeping the Eagles in the game.
On the opposite end, Graham Kapowsin knocked on the door to try and even up the score. A corner kick was sent back post to be headed back across once more. Velez jumped up over his defender to get on the end of it. The ball instead went just over the crossbar and hit the post, leaving the Eagles still hungry.
The half ended with the Wolves up 1-0.
South Kitsap started off on a high note in the second half with a quick goal, one minute in.
De LaCruz dribbled the ball through the backline on the left side and finished a ball far post that the keeper was only able to get his fingertips on, upping the score to 2-0 South Kitsap.
The Eagles appeared shaken after the goal and began to pump the ball forward to try and spring a runner behind the backline, with no avail.
The Wolves were able to strike again in the 48th minute when Larson had a breakaway, sprinting past his defender at the 20-yard line into the box. One-on-one with the keeper, he was able to finish his shot into the back post side netting with is right foot to make the score 3-0.
Graham Kapowsin worked to get a goal when a ball in behind found an open player out wide. Narramore tried to find his player but Sorley was able to get there to clear it out before the Eagles got a shot off.
Through the remainder of the game, the Wolves continued to put pressure on the Eagles’ goalie who had to come off his line repeatedly to clear the ball at the top of the box to prevent breakaways by the Wolves.
Mansfield wanted a goal of his own when he played a ball across on a free kick that was cleared out to Larson on top of the box. Larson played the ball back out to Mansfield, who took a touch past his defender to rip a shot from 20 yards out so that Derrickson had to make a diving save to keep the ball out of his net.
The Eagles continued to desperately push toward goal to get on the board during the last few minutes of the game. The Wolves kept a clean sheet, however, and walked away with the 3-0 victory.
“I told the boys to stay within themselves,” Vartanian said. “If we play our game, if we keep our shape and play fast, we’re going to be able to knock the ball around.”
Next up, the Wolves face Sumner on April 14. The last time the two teams met, the Wolves walked away with a 1-0 victory.
“They’ve seen us and we’ve seen them. If we play our game, we’re going to be fine. But that’s going to be one heck of a game,” Vartanian said.