POULSBO — When you’ve had a run of regular season dominance like the Klahowya girls soccer teams has in recent years, sometimes the challenge is finding a challenge.
The Eagles have not lost a league game since the Olympic League 1A was formed in 2014, and wins in the past couple of years have become increasingly lopsided in the now-three team league. In 2018, Klahowya has beaten Port Townsend and Chimacum by a combined 25-0 in four matches.
That’s why games against the top teams in the West Sound are so important. Coupeville’s exit from the Olympic League in 2017 has been a blessing, allowing Klahowya the flexibility to add even more non-league games. Even a game against 4A South Kitsap was scheduled, which the Eagles lost 2-0, the only blemish on their 11-1 record this year.
Klahowya has scored victories over 2A teams such as Olympic, North Mason, Sequim and Kingston, as well as Cascade, a top 1A team.
On Thursday, the Eagles took on North Kitsap and came away with a 1-0 victory. The Vikings were the last team to hand them a league loss on Oct. 1, 2013, when Klahowya was still a 2A school.
“We need tests like this … we appreciate getting teams like North Kitsap,” head coach Troy Oelschlager said.
The offense was sharp, especially during the first 20 minutes of the match. Midfielders and forwards were clearly on the same page, linking up down the field with ease against an excellent North Kitsap defense.
In the seventh minute, Katelyn Daykin made an outstanding pass on a counter-attack to a wide-open Rylee Radford, who had nothing but a yawning net sitting in front of her. The senior midfielder tapped home the ball for the only score of the night.
“We’ve started to figure some things out. We’ve got the girls in the spots we want now,” Oelschlager said. “I knew it would take part of the season to figure out who is going to play where, and they’re starting to figure out their roles.”
There were other close calls. Alyssa Peters nearly capped off a terrific string of passes by Hope Martin and Kayden Eckley, but her shot curled just wide of the net. In the second half, Martin nearly had a breakaway opportunity, but as North Kitsap keeper Nicole Rosen dove out to smother the ball, she subsequently took out her legs. The foul was ruled to be on the edge of the penalty area and a free kick was given just outside the box. The shot was just off target.
The Eagles have one more big game against a high-powered Port Angeles team before finishing up their league schedule. With a 4-0 record, the league title is theirs, and the focus has shifted to continuing to raise their play against quality teams.
“I’d like to see some more goals in the back of the net in these games, but we’ll get there,” Oelschlager said.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.