PORT ORCHARD — With a big matchup against one of the South Puget Sound League’s top teams — and a chance at avenging an early-season loss — the Wolves girls soccer team came out of the gates with plenty of energy. Perhaps a little too much.
One of the hallmarks of veteran teams is the ability to manage intensity and adrenaline in every game, no matter big or small. But a youthful Wolves team started the game a little over-eager. In the words of South Kitsap head coach K-Lee Haynes, things got a little “squirrelly.”
“They all wanted to be the first one there, and that’s how they got those two early goals on us,” Haynes said.
A goal by Sumner (6-2-1) in the first minute helped the Spartans to a 3-1 victory over South Kitsap (4-4-2) Oct. 5 at Kitsap Bank Stadium.
Just 16 seconds into the match, Sumner senior Sam Larberg smacked home a rebound off the crossbar to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
South Kitsap did recover quickly — four minutes later, a corner kick by junior Eliza Villarma found its way to the front of the goal where Teanna Lathum was in position to deposit the loose ball and tie the game.
But the Spartans maintained pressure on the South Kitsap defense and was able to break through for another goal in the 17th minute. Sophomore Kylie Wing was the recipient of a terrific cross that was placed perfectly, just above the outstretched hands of Wolves keeper Olivia Prince. Wing tucked home the ball and Sumner was back in the lead.
With the season now in the homestretch and teams fighting for every available point, South Kitsap began to push forward. The Wolves are currently in a good position to be one of six teams bound for the district tournament, but they must continue to pick up points to stave off the bottom three SPSL 4A teams.
“That’s always in the back of my mind,” Haynes said. “How can we get into the top two, how do we get to districts, and how do we get to state?”
The Wolves nearly equalized the match in the 58th minute when Savannah Foster won a ball at midfield and sent it out wide to Lathum, who crossed it low toward the box. Sumner keeper Madison Hanenburg managed to get a hand on the ball just before a South Kitsap player could corral it and get a shot on goal. Ten minutes later, Villarma got away a clean header, but she was a little too far from goal and Hanenburg was able to make the save.
With just a minute left to play, Sumner picked up an insurance marker on a long free kick by sophomore Mia Mahaffey to give Sumner a 3-1 lead.
Up next for South Kitsap is Puyallup, which sits on top of league standings with an 8-0-2 record, but one of those ties belongs to the Wolves. In its second game of the season, South Kitsap had a 2-0 lead on a pair of goals by Foster with 10 minutes to play, but the Vikings were able to rally for a tie.
Following that match, South Kitsap will face off against Olympia (0-9-1), Bellarmine (5-3-1), Rogers (2-5-3) and Emerald Ridge (4-4-2) — with plenty of opportunities to pick up enough points to ensure placement in districts.
“We’ve got to start off settled and composed, and a big part of that for us is confidence,” Haynes said. “We’ve got girls playing in different positions that they’re not used to. So the key is them just knowing they can play that position, having the confidence in themselves, keeping themselves composed and having the vision on the field to find the feet, to find the play.”
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.