POULSBO — If only the game had ended when the clock did.
As the North Kitsap-South Kitsap soccer game entered its final two minutes Tuesday night, the scoreboard clock, which is configured for football, froze at two minutes.
Thirty seconds later, with the game in its final minute and a half, South Kitsap’s Brendon Sweglar received a pass in front of the goal and fired it toward the goal. The ball scampered through the defense and past North Kitsap goalie Brenden Phillips for the first Wolves’ goal of the evening. Sweglar’s goal tied the game at 1-1.
It also erased 78 minutes of tough, tenacious defense by the Vikings; nulled a superb effort in goal by Phillips, who stopped several tough shots on his way to what seemed like a shutout; and evened a quick-striking goal by Colton Bangs, who had received a short Reid Ammann pass and given North Kitsap a 1-0 lead in the first few moments of the game.
Both teams battled to break the tie, but they emerged from the game still tangled at 1-1.
“It was a disappointing loss,” said Viking Rory Kinyon. “I felt like we outplayed South tonight, but it didn’t show up on the scoreboard.”
The Vikings had gained their lead in the first two minutes when Ammann kicked a short pass ahead to the streaking Bangs, who fired the goal past Wolves’ sophomore goalie Dan Phelps.
First the offense stood out. Then it was the defense’s turn.
The Vikings spent the rest of the game muscling and deflecting the Wolves away from the goal.
Phillips was a large part of the effort, especially in the second half when the Wolves were on the prowl.
Earlier he had been saved when defender Matt Simonson slid in front of the goal and deflected a South Kitsap shot after Phillips had charged out to meet the defender.
But later it was Phillips who met the attacks.
Forward Gerard Kupietz kicked a pass from the wing to Brendon Sweglar, but Phillips rushed and stopped the shot.
Moments later it was Kupietz taking the shot, but again Phillips was there to snuff it.
The effort of the defenders kept the Wolves at bay most of the night.
But with the clock winding down, Sweglar’s boot made it through the tight defense and into the net.
The Wolves, who were battling to be the second-seeded team in the Narrows League playoffs, were tripped up by the tie.
Head coach Eric Bergeson was pleased with his team’s intensity but disappointed with the tie.
“This one really felt more like a loss,” Bergeson said.
The Vikings have been plagued by ties this year (2-4-4), but head coach Chris Heins was glad the defense played such a great game.
“They just needed to hold on a little bit longer,” he said.