NK senior Nate Blanchard unleashes a kick toward goal in the first half of the game against Archbishop Murphy on May 16. Jacob Moore | Kitsap Daily News

NK senior Nate Blanchard unleashes a kick toward goal in the first half of the game against Archbishop Murphy on May 16. Jacob Moore | Kitsap Daily News

Despite strong effort, Vikings’ season comes to an end

You wouldn’t know it by the final score, but North Kitsap dominated offensively

POULSBO — The final score isn’t always indicative of the way athletes perform. The North Kitsap boys soccer team found this out the hard way.

Despite taking more shots at goal throughout the game, the Vikings pulled the short end of a 3-1 stick against Archbishop Murphy High School on May 16.

It was an emotional end to a season that looked as if it should have continued.

“I felt like we were the better team,” NK head coach Greg St. Peter said. “It’s just one of those days where it doesn’t go your way. It’s tough for this big group of seniors to end that way.”

Thirteen seniors sported the Vikings soccer jersey for the final time Wednesday evening. Although they didn’t outscore their opponent, it felt inevitable they would at least sneak one past the goalkeeper, considering the number of promising chances they had.

Senior Nate Blanchard, who scored two goals against Fife on Saturday, had Archbishop Murphy’s goalkeeper beat in the seventh minute. With almost a wide-open net, Blanchard took a pass and launched it just over the crossbar.

This came after a corner kick that also sailed over the goal. Then, sophomore Wyatt Murphy got in on the action by attempting to head the ball in, but he wasn’t able to get the right angle on it. Murphy later went one-on-one with the keeper, but his shot went wide to the right.

A golden opportunity arose shortly afterward. Senior forward Nick Cullen missed on his attempt to head in the ball. While the goalkeeper went down to the ground to save it, the ball rolled away, giving George Beddoe a chance to notch the first score. He got too much air under it, however, and kicked it over the top.

North Kitsap had four more healthy chances to find the back of the net, but as St. Peter said, it was just one of those days. The whistle blew to mark the end of the first half and the Vikings found themselves with the disadvantage.

“It felt like we had the lead, but we were down 1-0,” St. Peter said.

Following a scoreless half in which North Kitsap had nothing to show for its offensive domination, the frustrated Vikings wasted no time in the second. Murphy slid one past the Wildcats’ goalkeeper to tie the game at 1-1 in the 41st minute.

Following the tying goal, NK’s offense slowed down for a bit while Archbishop Murphy amped up its opportunities. Wildcats junior Buba Manneh was in the right spot at the right time — twice.

The ball reached Manneh deep downfield and he didn’t hesitate to put his team back into the lead in the 50th minute. Then in the 53rd minute, Manneh pounded his chest, smiled and celebrated a second goal to extend his team’s advantage.

An urgency to score abruptly swept over the Vikings and, as a result, the soccer game turned physical. The referees quickly took notice. On multiple occasions, they warned athletes from both teams to tone down their pushing and shoving.

However, that sense of urgency became emotional when the final whistle blew, with North Kitsap still two goals shy of a tie. The Wildcats may not have taken as many shots or controlled the time of possession as adeptly as the Vikings, but they had the statistic that counted — the final score — and now move on to the state tournament.

“We had our ups and downs a little bit but these guys have known each other for a long time and that makes it special,” St. Peter said.

“I’m proud of them for getting through all the [adversity] that they’ve had. To get back [to state], that was our goal … and they did it. Honestly, I thought we could go another round easily, but I’m really proud of them.”

— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap Daily News. Contact him at Jmoore@Soundpublishing.com or follow him on Twitter @JMooreKDN.

More in Sports

Makayla Stockman winds up to pitch for the Vikings. Steve Powell/File Photos
NK girls make it to state the hard way

Competitions took place last weekend to see who would advance to the… Continue reading

Senior catcher Colton Bower was a big reason for NK’s success this season. He will be on scholarship to play for Washington State University next year.
NK baseball stunned in 1st round at state

North Kitsap’s baseball team won over 20 games and only lost a… Continue reading

Pitcher Noah Sorensen moved the ball around and struck out a number of Pirates.
NK wins district title, on to state

Kingston wins 1 before being eliminated

The free fishing derby put on by the Lions Club is Saturday in Poulsbo. Courtesy Photo
Free fishing derby Saturday in Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club is hosting a “Hooked on Fish Derby”… Continue reading

Colton Bower of NK dives safely back to first base after hitting a single in the first inning. Zach Duffy of BHS applies the tag. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald
NK falls to league-leading Bainbridge

You can bet the North Kitsap Viking outfielders are going to be… Continue reading

.
NK baseball team keeps winning

North Kitsap The Vikings beat Columbia River in baseball 10-7 and Ridegefield… Continue reading

Kingston goalie Carter Krantz jumps up to make a save under crowded conditions against Olympic. Krantz and the Bucs shut out the visitors 1-0. Krantz’s booming kicks also were a powerful offensive weapon for the Bucs, keeping Olympic on the defensive side of the field. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston’s defense blanks Olympic in soccer

Kingston has a strong defense, and it needed every bit of it… Continue reading

Kaden Schaefer of Kingston signs a letter of intent to play college soccer, while brother Zander, 5, looks on with admiration. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Buc scores college soccer scholarship

Once Kaden Schaefer got to high school, he started to think maybe… Continue reading

Ian ‘J.R.’ Ritche
Outdoor prep sports spring into action

The Bainbridge Spartan baseball team returns one of the top pitchers in… Continue reading

Owen Scheer tees off for Bainbridge in a match at Kingston. Steve Powell/Bainbridge Island Review Photos
BI, Kingston split golf matches

Bainbridge In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Viet Tran of Kingston follows through on his second shot after missing the numerous sand trips off the tee on Hole 1 at White Horse Golf Club. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston splits golf matches against Bainbridge

Kingston In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Junior captain Elise Walters was the medalist for Bainbridge in the match against Sequim. Lucy Rector/Courtesy Photos
Defending champs start year with win over Sequim

The Olympic League defending champion Spartans started off the season last week… Continue reading