NK soccer reaches state semifinals with 2 playoff wins

After trying pro ball in Mexico, Viking connects on 3 goals

After two state playoff wins, North Kitsap will play in the state semifinals May 26 at 5 p.m. at Renton Memorial Stadium.

North Kitsap captured its first state soccer victory since 1988 with a 3-0 win over Hockinson in the first round.

The Vikings followed that up with a 3-2 victory over Sammamish May 19 at home.

Viking coach Greg St. Peter said Sammamish was the toughest team they faced this season.

The Redhawks scored first when Abner Hernandez connected on a breakaway within the first 20 minutes of the game.

Ethan Peck responded for the Vikings in the 20th minute. Aaron Lopez stole a pass back to the Redhawks defender and crossed the ball on the ground into the box. Peck took a touch and slammed it into the net to tie it at 1-1.

A couple of minutes later, Mason Chmiewlewski threw the ball in, and Peck scored off a header.

Diego DeLuna scored a free kick in the second half from nearly 30 yards out to make it 3-1 with 30 minutes left.

However, Hernandez added one more goal to make it 3-2. Sammamish had 10 more minutes to score but failed.

“I believe we have a good chance to win state,” DeLuna said. “We play good as a team.”

St. Peter said he was impressed with his team against Hockinson. “That was a little better offense than what I expected to see, and we didn’t come out nervous.”

St. Peter added this team has shown it’s well-balanced and can compete against any play style thrown at them. The Vikings proved it by capitalizing on set pieces against Hockinson, including DeLuna’s two-goal performance.

DeLuna, who left NK to attempt to play professionally in Mexico, returned May 13 and has made an impact since his return. He scored a header on a free kick from Harper Sabari a couple of minutes into the second half. Also, he scored a rifle from nearly 35 yards out and nearly picked up a hat trick but missed a penalty kick.

“Today I was looking at some goals from 30 or 40 yards out I had when I was a freshman,” DeLuna said. “The space just opened up, and I went for it. It felt great.”

NK’s other goal came in the first half with some no-calls leading up to it. After a physical no-call on a 50/50 ball in North Kitsap’s goalline, the Vikings advanced the ball up the left sideline.

After a couple of potential trips, Blake Hoepfinger found the ball at his feet outside of the box. He nailed the ball into the lower left corner to give the Vikings their first goal. “It was a sigh of relief to get that first one,” St. Peter said.

Trevor Dill saves a ball coming at him.

Trevor Dill saves a ball coming at him.