The Kingston boys soccer team never got the chance for a rebound season in 2020.
The year prior, they found themselves in the completely unfamiliar situation of sitting out the postseason. It was the first time in the program’s 11-year history that had happened.
“I still feel bad for my seniors last year,” coach Craig Smith said.
But 2021 has been business as usual for the Buccaneers — as much as it can be in a COVID-19-shortened spring season. Fielding a team worthy of the postseason under normal circumstances, they were 5-2 on the season heading into Thursday’s match against Olympic, with only a loss in penalty kicks to Sequim and a one-goal loss to Klahowya. And they had already avenged that stumble against the Eagles, beating them 3-1 on April 13.
And while they were certainly looking forward to a rematch with Sequim, they first had to get by the Trojans, who have given them some tough games in recent years.
There were some tense moments, and Olympic scored early in the second half to cut the lead to one goal, but Kingston struck twice in the final 15 minutes for a 4-1 victory. “The score isn’t really indicative of how the play went,” Smith said.
Kingston got off to a quick start with a goal in the ninth minute off a corner kick. Brayden Jacobs lobbed the ball into the penalty area and Kevin Aragon headed it home.
They got another aerial goal late in the first half when junior Elijah Andrews headed in a free kick from the left sideline. It looked like they were in control of the match, but the team was a bit flat to start the second half, and Olympic scored in the 58th minute to draw the Trojans within a goal.
“They were physical. It got to us a little bit,” Smith said. “And they defended, well and they put some pressure on us.”
But the Bucs were able to reestablish dominance. In the 70th minute, a long pass out of the defensive half found Kaden Schaefer in stride for a breakaway. He dribbled around the keeper, evaded a defender and then tucked the ball into the net.
Just before the final whistle, Kingston squeezed in one more score. A good combination play from the left sideline got the ball to Aragon at the top of the 18-yard box. Aragon took a strong shot on net, and Olympic’s keeper made the stop, but Marshall Kilpatrick was there to pounce on the rebound for the goal.
The victory keeps the Bucs within striking distance of Sequim, which is a perfect 7-0 on the year. Kingston will need some help if they want to catch the Wolves at the top of the division. Sequim plays Port Angeles and Olympic before the Bucs host them in Kingston on Wednesday.