North Kitsap advances to state tournament

The Vikings will play for the No. 3 seed Saturday against Fife at Franklin Pierce

UNIVERSITY PLACE — With two wins under their belts at the district tournament, the Vikings have safely advanced to the state tournament.

A 2-1 victory over Clover Park on May 5, followed by a 1-0 victory over Washington on May 8 means North Kitsap will either earn the No. 3 or 4 seed at state. The Vikings take on Fife at Franklin Pierce stadium at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 12.

“To get back into state with this group with what we’ve gone through this season is really rewarding,” NK head coach Greg St. Peter said.

Nate Blanchard and Nick Cullen struck for goals against the Warriors in the opening-round contest at Franklin Pierce, though St. Peter said he felt his team was a little nervous playing under the “loser out” scenario.

“That game was very challenging for us,” he said. “We felt like we were playing against ourselves a bit, and not necessarily Clover Park. At times, we were our own worst enemy.”

The team played much better against Washington, and a 60th minute goal by George Beddoe proved to be the match-winner. The Vikings were motivated by a possible third game against Kingston, which would have happened had the Buccaneers prevailed against Fife on May 8.

But the Vikings are plenty familiar with the Trojans, having played them several times in previous years in the district tournament. So while it’s no inter-district rivalry game, there is plenty on the line.

“We have plenty of motivation to get the third seed,” St. Peter said. “We want to kep the pressure on these guys and keep them focused.”

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com.

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