You can’t ask for a more electric scenario in South Kitsap soccer: a do-or-die penalty kick against South Puget Sound League foe Bethel, an unknown number of seconds left in stoppage time and a small yet excited crowd ready to erupt in cheers.
It was so noisy at Kitsap Bank Stadium Sept. 21 that Wolves coach Hailey Martin called to the crowd to remain still and quiet, letting senior midfielder Melanie Rojas-Perez focus on the task at hand. It’s a scenario she said post-match her team was more than prepared for.
“We’ve even practiced PKs because if we would have remained tied at the end, we would have gone straight to PKs, this being a cross-league matchup,” she said.
Practice, in this case, made perfect for the Wolves, who swarmed Rojas-Perez after she sent the ball past the Bison goalkeeper to give their team a 2-1 advantage. Seconds later, after a fury of final attempts by the Bison to get back in the match, the final whistle sounded.
It was the best way, Martin said, to end a demanding week for her girls that consisted of three matches in four days. The Wolves first traveled Sept. 18 to the home of defending 1A champions Klahowya, where they lost 3-1. They then returned to their home turf Sept. 20, losing in tough fashion to Graham-Kapowsin 2-1.
Martin knew a win was exactly what her team needed going into the weekend, and, sure enough, the hard work paid off. “I think that provided a lot of momentum for us,” Martin said about the win. “I think it was a good result for us to end on our own PK instead of just going to a shootout with them.”
SK was in position to take a narrow victory in the match after Rojas-Perez knocked in the Wolves’ first goal midway through the first half.
However, miscommunication on the Wolves’ part and a combination of unfortunate reads and bad bounces led to a Bethel free-kick goal dribbling past sophomore goalkeeper Emerson Welborn in the second half.
“Our defense was too spread apart,” Martin said. “We’re going to work on getting ourselves cut in together, ‘cause it just went right through our defenders on the top when we could have gotten it.”
It was the only real mistake of the night for Welborn, who kept the Bison scoreless otherwise in a thorough domination of the net. While it was a shakier second half overall for her defense, Martin credited her girls for keeping themselves in the match.