PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap’s girls soccer team had spent 80 minutes trying to crack the Graham-Kapowsin defense when they finally got a break.
In stoppage time in a scoreless match Oct. 3, sophomore Sierrah VanGesen whipped a ball in on net with the hopes of hitting the far corner. A Graham-Kapowsin defender came streaking in to clear the ball but ended up putting it into her own net for an own goal.
Moments later, the whistle blew and the Wolves walked away with a 1-0 victory.
It felt as though South Kitsap was on the verge of scoring throughout much of the second half — in which the Wolves mostly dominated possession — and the team had several close chances in the final 20 minutes.
In the 63rd minute, Franqie Moppins nearly popped one home after a pass from Lily Lutovsky sprung her free from her defender. Another came in sliding to block the shot to set up a corner kick. The ensuing volley came in and it bounced to VanGesen, who flipped a shot high in the air that landed on the crossbar.
Four minutes before the goal, Cassidy Jones nearly had one as well, taking a pass from Moppins and firing a shot that looked like it was headed for the corner, but the Eagles keeper was able to get a piece of it.
“We were getting there, we’ll take it,” said head coach K-Lee Haynes. “A goal is a goal for sure.”
Goalkeeper Kyndal Thomas had an excellent night in her own right. She finished with seven saves in the match, including a diving stop in the second half that took away a sure goal.
“She came off her line to today to win those one-on-ones,” Haynes said. “She was awesome.”
The match was the final tune-up for the Wolves before the SPSL season gets underway. They played four preseason games against other league foes, going 2-1-1 with wins over Graham-Kapowsin and Emerald Ridge, a tie against Curtis and a loss to Sumner. They also have ties with Lakes and Klahowya on their early-season résumé.
With only eight returning players this season, getting familiar with one another has been one of the challenges. The defense — anchored by Ashley Cameron, Carmelita Whyte and Makenna Wheeler — has looked strong and there is plenty of talent in the midfield and upfront to make this Wolves team a dangerous one.
“I’m really working with them with playing to feet and doing one and two touches,” Haynes said. “Playing it quick, playing it fast.”
South Kitsap’s SPSL opener takes place Tuesday at home against Olympia at 7 p.m.