t Lions’ late score the difference in
2-1 Narrows League contest.
It was a regular-season finale with the league title at stake.
The suspense during the match might have rivaled the pre-game hype as Bellarmine Prep earned a 2-1 win against South Kitsap in a cold, windy high-school boys soccer match Thursday to claim the Narrows League championship.
“It makes it a lot warmer when you win,” Bellarmine Prep coach Joe Waters said. “The wind kind of spoiled the game a little bit because you’re not really getting the ball down the plain as you would hope.”
Bellarmine (14-1-0 overall, 10-0-0), which hasn’t lost a league match since a 2-1 setback at Wilson on March 29, 2007, took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Elliot Morton in the 39th minute.
Senior goalkeeper Greg Dobb started in place of junior Daniel Lathrop on “Senior Night” for South. Lathrop didn’t trade out with Dobb at any point in what Bergeson called “respect for the seniors.”
“You’ve been to the games,” Bergeson said. “You know Lathrop is our starter. You know he’s a cat-like goalie.
“This is in no way a commentary on my other goalie,” he said, “but I think he probably escorts that one (first goal) over the bar.”
The Wolves (10-1-2, 8-1-1), who finished second in league and host an undetermined opponent at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Narrows League Tournament, surrendered two goals for the first time this season.
Despite that, South coach Eric Bergeson wasn’t disappointed with the work of his defense or Dobb.
“I really thought we limited the breakdowns in the area,” he said. “We helped each other; we were patient and calm.”
The latter attribute in particular was important to Bergeson, who hasn’t defeated the Lions since he became the coach at South in 1998.
“We didn’t buckle,” he said. “We didn’t go away.”
Brent Ricigliano received a pass from Justin Moore that he quickly put past Bellarmine goalkeeper Chris Carlin to tie the match, 1-all, in the 66th.
“It’s very important in our discussions that the guy crossing the ball leaves the other guy with the least amount of work possible,” Bergeson said. “The emphasis is on the delivery. Both ends of that were magic.”
The Lions, whose only loss this year was a 2-0 setback against Crescent on April 5 in Limerick, Ireland, won with a goal by junior defender Tyler Frazier in the 73rd.
South had a couple of shots to tie the game in the final two minutes, the last one by Jordan Thomas that missed just to the right of the goal.
“Hopefully, if everything is true to form we’ll meet these guys again in the league final,” Waters said. “You’re looking at the top-two teams in the league and two of the top-10 teams in the state.”