Senior captain Marielle Arnold scored one of Central Kitsap’s four goals against Shelton. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Senior captain Marielle Arnold scored one of Central Kitsap’s four goals against Shelton. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Central Kitsap knocks off Shelton 4-0 in a battle for a top two league spot

The Cougars are one point behind Gig Harbor and one point ahead of North Thurston with six matches to go

SILVERDALE — Coming off a big week in which the Cougars took down two tough South Sound Conference foes, the players were looking to continue that momentum against a Shelton team they had already beaten 4-0 this season.

Central Kitsap put up a repeat performance at home Tuesday night, taking down the Highclimbers 4-0 once again as the team fights for the all-important No. 2 seed in the district playoffs.

The Cougars still have to fend off North Thurston and Peninsula to get the second seed — which means a playoff home game, a guarantee of two games in the district tournament and needing only one win to clinch a spot in the 3A state tournament— but 1-0 wins over both teams last week put them in good position.

“That propelled us into a good spot,” said head coach Keith Sargent.

Tuesday’s performance against Shelton was precisely what the Cougars needed to keep the hot streak going. Four goals from four different players and a clean sheet from keeper Kiley Hall. That’s Central Kitsap’s sixth South Sound Conference shutout and seventh overall this season.

Sophomore Abby Fischer opened the scoring in just the second minute, taking a quick feed from Delaney Homewood that gave her a clean look from near the penalty spot. Marielle Arnold scored 11 minutes later after she flagged down a corner kick, spun around a fired a left-footed shot into the net.

The Cougars scored a third goal late in the first half. Brooke Mimaki’s corner kick found freshman Ella Smith, who used her head to put the ball into the net.

It was the kind of offensive outburst Central Kitsap has been trying to produce more often after scoring just 17 goals in 17 games last season. The team still largely consists of underclassmen with just three seniors on the roster, which meant last year that the freshmen and sophomores received plenty of playing time and experience. That has paid off as the Cougars have already scored 19 goals in eight matches.

“That was one of our biggest goals this year, to raise our goal average,” said Arnold, Central Kitsap’s senior captain.

Madisyn Diabo added a fourth goal in the 63rd minute. Her free kick from 35 yards away dropped in at the perfect angle over the Shelton keeper’s head.

After spending much of the first half on the road, Central Kitsap will be at home at their brand new field for four of its final six matches. And that next home game is the one they’re looking forward to the most — an Oct. 15 rematch against Gig Harbor, the defending 3A state champions. The Tides won the first matchup, 3-1.

“The first time we played them we were ready, but I think now we’re more comfortable,” Arnold said.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitasp News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.

Madisyn Diabo flicks a ball upfield to a teammate. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Madisyn Diabo flicks a ball upfield to a teammate. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

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