NK soccer finishes 3rd in state

North Kitsap’s soccer team placed third at state, beating East Valley of Spokane 1-0, 4-3 on penalties May 25 at Renton Memorial Stadium.

Goalie Justin Anderson’s two diving stops were the difference.

Harper Sabari made the game-winning penalty kick. Aaron Lopez, Pepe DeLuna and Sebastian Moran scored the other penalty kicks.

East Valley played with a defensive pressure that gave North Kitsap issues within the first 10 minutes of the game. Red Devil Jace Cuevas had the first opportunity on the net but Anderson made the save.

Viking DeLuna had the first shot on the net saved in the 19th minute after a lob pass gave him the opportunity. NK rushed a free kick in the 28th minute, but DeLuna had the shot hit the crossbar and bounce out of bounds.

In the 30th minute, things got chippy. A rough tackle against Sabari led to a Red Devil earning a yellow card, both teams shoving each other and another yellow card to a Viking player.

After the dust settled, Ethan Peck headed the free kick wide of the goal. Both teams had a handful of fouls but neither team capitalized in the final minutes of the half.

In the second half, East Valley’s goalie made a kick save when Sabari snuck past the defenders and tried to dribble the ball into the right corner of the goal. Sabari’s free-kick was tipped by the backheel of William Moseley and Lopez’s shot missed wide left.

Cuevas had an opportunity on a counter-attack in front of the goal but sailed it wide to keep it scoreless. Extra time was quiet until a Red Devil striker was tripped in the box but he was awarded a yellow card for inciting the aggressive behavior.

In its previous game, No. 2 seeded Franklin Pierce edged No. 3 seed North Kitsap in overtime 3-2 to advance to the state title game against Sehome.

For 54 minutes, it looked like the Cardinals would win much easier than expected as they led 2-0.

But then NK earned a penalty kick when DeLuna was tackled from behind. Therefore, Peck stepped up and scored the first goal down the middle of the net.

As the clock ticked to the end of the game, FP still led 2-1, and it looked dire for the Vikings.

But during stoppage time NK earned a corner kick. Ten players, including the Viking goalie, crowded the box while the kick sailed high in front of the goal. FP tried to hold for a few more seconds, but Viking Mason Chmielewski headed the ball over the goalie to tie the game 2-2, sending it into overtime.

NK’s celebration was short-lived, however. Both teams had opportunities in the first half of extra time but Franklin Pierce sealed the game with a goal in the second half of it.

The Cardinals put the Vikings back on their heels early in the game, scoring in the 10th minute on a header on a corner kick at the 6-yard box. The Cardinals had another opportunity two minutes later but a Viking defender ran through the Cardinal forward, giving Franklin Pierce a penalty kick. The penalty kick was scored in the lower right corner to give the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.

The two teams battled evenly in the next 28 minutes of the first half and 16 minutes into the second half before NK got on the board. They battled evenly again for another 24 minutes before the Vikings tied it.

North Kitsap entered the game with a 19-1 record while Franklin Pierce was 20-0-2. NK had won five straight by shutout. The only Viking loss was to Fife, while the Cardinals tied the Trojans and beat them twice this season. NK outscored its opponents 102-12, and FP outscored its foes 86-17.

Ealier in the state playoffs, NK beat W.F. West 6-0 and Pullman 2-0, while the Cardinals beat Grandview 4-1 and just got by seventh-seed Squalicum 4-3.