Kingston has a strong defense, and it needed every bit of it in blanking Olympic 1-0 in soccer Thursday.
Even the defense scored the only goal. Well, not really, but a defensive player, Tony Garcia, scored after having to move to play forward the first 20 minutes of the game.
Like in their previous game against Port Angeles, the Bucs dominated, outshooting the visitors 30-3. Buc coach Craig Smith said Olympic packed its defense so tight, most of the home team’s shots came from the outside, which made it easier for their goalie to grab shots in the air.
The defense is led by goalie Caden Krantz, “an incredible athlete, fast and great leaping ability,” Smith said. His booming kicks kept Olympic on its end of the field most of the game. Defenders Eric Steel and Noah Walters have size and strength, too, and are great at positioning themselves, their coach said.
”Not too many penetrate that line, plus we utilize our midfield speed recovering quickly adding more bodies,” the coach said. “And our outside mids become fullbacks on the far side when our backline shifts.”
Smith said while other schools are growing Kingston High School is actually shrinking in size. We’ve “got to get the most we can with what we have at KHS – a 1A trying to act like a 2A” classification school, he said.
To help the program, Smith said some excellent athletes who have never played soccer before are learning the game playing junior varsity. “I’m honored really they are coming out and helping,” he said. “Wish they had come out as freshmen, but so glad to have them and get to know them.”
In particular he mentioned Nathaniel Velie, who was captain of the swim team and placed second in state in two events, Camden Singer, most valuable player for the defense on the football team, and cross country runner Sam Decker.
Soccer is not an easy game to learn. Many players are highly skilled as they’ve been playing since an early age. “To see such effort and evolution and leadership is humbling while building pride in our school,” Smith said. “I love coaching a small town school.”