BREMERTON — It was just before halftime and Klahowya, in the midst of a dream season, found themselves in a relatively unfamiliar situation.
The Eagles had scored the opening goal of the game, as they so often have, but a rare defensive miscue forced by a pressuring Olympic team led to only the fourth goal they have conceded all season. The two teams appeared to be headed for the half tied at 1.
But out of seemingly nowhere, as she often does, Klahowya sophomore Alyssa Peters decided to take a rip at the net from the left wing and blasted the ball in over the keeper’s head. The halftime whistle blew moments later and the Eagles were back on solid ground.
Klahowya scored twice in the second half and went on to defeat Olympic, 4-1, but the lessons learned from another difficult test passed will serve the team well going forward.
“We were a little slower than we would normally be, but they brought good pressure, they’re a good team,” said Klahowya head coach Troy Oelschlager. “It’s always a battle when we play them.”
Klahowya opened the scoring in the 18th minute on a goal from junior Rylee Radford. Her teammate Tyler Townsend came away with possession just above the 18-yard box and slid it over to Radford, who tucked it underneath the crossbar from in close.
However, despite the early goal, Olympic was never far out of the match. Even before the goal, the Trojans had been holding their own in the possession game, and had been a bit quicker to the 50-50 balls than Klahowya.
“You could see Olympic was winning some of those 50-50s and it was taking away our ability to put pressure on them,” said Oelschlager.
Ten minutes after Radford’s goal, Olympic freshman midfielder Meleina Wright forced a bad turnover about 20 yards from the Klahowya net and passed the ball to her right to a streaking Saoirse Brown, who was wide open and scored to tie the game at 1.
The game remained tense well into the second half. Klahowya was guarding closely its 2-1 lead after Peters scored just before halftime and Olympic had a couple of opportunities where it was able to break down the defense and put together a prime scoring chance, but the Trojans were unable to finish them.
The Eagles finally gave themselves some cushion in the 64th minute. A corner kick by Peters found the head of senior midfielder Hailey Sargent, who unleashed a textbook header into the back of the net. Peters herself would go on to add another goal late on a feed from Kylie Woodrum.
Klahowya, now 9-0 on the season, has one more big test left on its schedule — the Eagles have defeated Olympic and North Kitsap from the Olympic 2A League and private school power Cascade Christian — in a rare matchup on Oct. 9 against 3A Central Kitsap, which needed to fill a hole in its non-league schedule.
“We love that, we need that kind of test,” said Oelschlager. “We want to prepared for playoffs.”
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.