LAKEWOOD — Central Kitsap thought it had seized back momentum late in the second half against Bonney Lake. A rocket off the foot of Lauren Hudson hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced down, and the Cougars thought they were within a goal.
But play carried on while the Central Kitsap sideline vehemently argued the ball had crossed the goal line. It would not count and, as it turned out, left the Cougars one goal short of tying the game. Central Kitsap’s season came to an end with a 3-2 loss to Bonney Lake in its district game on Nov. 4.
“I don’t have any regrets. We did the best that we could,” head coach Vicky Webb said. “It’s tough when it’s taken away from you by a decision someone else makes. Honestly, that’s the hard part.”
The Cougars found themselves down 2-0 early in the second half after Bonney Lake’s sophomore star Kaylee Coatney converted on a penalty shot. Ten minutes later, sophomore Marielle Arnold was fouled inside the 18-yard box to give Hudson a chance from the penalty spot. She scored and the Cougars were back within one.
“That was a big confidence booster, knowing we can still do this,” said senior Grace Anderson. “It was 2-1 at the time, and anyone can come back from that. You should never get down, you can come back even from 3-0 and still win. It was a good energizer for all of us.”
But just a minute later, Coatney broke loose again and placed a perfect shot that hit the inside of the post and bounced into the net, restoring the Panthers’ two-goal lead. Coatney had a hand in all three goals, setting up the opener by junior Summer Kober in the 31st minute.
That last score by the Panthers would loom large — while Hudson’s strike from 15 yards out was ruled no goal by the officials, the Seattle University-bound senior did score on a header off a corner kick by Katie Rankin during extra time. Central Kitsap continued to scramble until the final whistle blew, but could not come up with an equalizer.
“You have to put that aside,” said Webb. “We had opportunities and we didn’t capitalize on as well.”
The Cougars struggled to keep up with Bonney Lake at times, a quick team that moved the ball well. Central Kitsap conceded seven corner kicks in the first half, although they were able to defend them all. Goalkeeper Alyssa Russell was forced to make several big saves. She made eight altogether in the match.
“We’re disappointed, but we had a great season,” said Webb, recounting big league victories over Gig Harbor and Peninsula that helped boost Central Kitsap into the playoffs. “It was a well-played game.”
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.