POULSBO — A depleted North Kitsap soccer team tied the rejuvenated Port Townsend squad Saturday afternoon 3-3.
The Vikings were without several players due to sickness, travel and academics; Port Townsend had added several players since the Vikings saw them last, when several basketball players were involved in the 3A playoffs.
On Saturday, the Vikings struck first; as the first half ticked away, forward Colton Bangs muscled his way past a Port Townsend defender and fired a shot past goalie Casey Glaubmen.
The Vikings carried the 1-0 lead into halftime, but Port Townsend bridged the gap three minutes into the second half, when a charging Jared Robinson reached a pass as North Kitsap goalie Brendan Phillips charged out of the box to meet him; Robinson managed to send a shot past Phillips, tying the game.
A pair of Gus Zadra goals, scored within three minutes of each other, gave the Vikings a 3-1 lead. For the first, Zadra wove through the Port Townsend defense and fired a point-blank shot into the net; for the second, on a penalty kick, Zadra rifled a shot left as the goalie headed right, and scored his second goal of the game.
Port Townsend’s Robinson answered with five minutes left in the game, as he arced a shot above the leaping Phillips to bring his team one goal closer.
Phillips proved his mettle moments later, snuffing a free kick by Port Townsend’s Devin Shuck.
But Shuck proved to be a difference-maker with about a minute to go. He sent a long cross-field pass to a charging Robinson, who whipped the ball into the net for his third goal and a Port Townsend tie.
The two teams left the field knotted at three goals each.
Still, Port Townsend coach Craig Smith was impressed by his opponent.
“That team is much better than it was last year,” Smith said of an improving North Kitsap squad. “We appreciate the chance to play them.”
Smith said his team was also improved now that it was at full strength: “We had an attack. In the last game (against North Kitsap), we had no attack … they came from behind, which shows me that they have heart.”
Port Townsend elevated its record to 2-2-1.
The Vikings still have not lost a game, and were 3-0-3 heading into the March 26 game with South Kitsap.
“It was an excellent game, and Port Townsend played hard,” said head coach Chris Heins.