EAST BREMERTON — The Central Kitsap boys soccer team prides itself on keeping the ball out of the net.
With five shutouts in seven games, including four clean sheets against league opponents, the Cougars are well on their way to being known as one of the stingiest teams around.
“They have a team goal for how many shutouts they want to get,” said head coach Keith Sargent.
Central Kitsap (3-0-4, 3-0-2) has blanked Capital and Shelton, as well as a powerful Gig Harbor team — the latter game was a 0-0 draw. And while most of the team’s matches have been close, low-scoring games this year, they found the back of the net in bunches against Yelm on Tuesday night.
The Cougars scored five goals in the first 16 minutes of the match on their way to a 6-0 win over the Tornadoes, earning three points in the standings and staying one point ahead of Gig Harbor for first place in the South Sound Conference.
“You have no idea how good that felt,” Sargent said.
Dom Murray got on the board first, taking a slick pass through the defense from Zach Green and dribbling into the box before firing a shot home. Xavier Ramirez and Carter Nilsen followed with a goal in each of the next two minutes and Central Kitsap led 3-0.
Two minutes later, Josh Roche dribbled his way right through the defense to score the Cougars’ fourth goal of the game. Murray then got his second in the 16th minute on a nice feed from Roche and it was 5-0.
It was an encouraging performance from a team coming off a disappointing result against Timberline on March 21 in which they tied 1-1. Central Kitsap then beat Shelton 1-0 on Saturday, and were able to take control quickly against a short-handed and inexperienced Yelm team.
“We have some learning to do,” Sargent said. “I challenged them today for this kind of game and they responded well.”
James Burns scored a 35th minute goal on a long cross that ended up finding the upper left corner of the net. Central Kitsap led 6-0 at halftime, which was the final score after an uneventful second half.
As the team makes its way through the league schedule, excitement is growing for what could be a very successful season. The team knows it will be strong defensively with good speed on the wings and skilled, creative players in the middle, and it has experienced players at key positions. Now the hope is offensive outbursts like the one the Cougars had on Tuesday will be a little more frequent.
“A good core came back this year and we had some pleasant surprises,” Sargent said.