Senior forward Grant Larson dribbles through the Emerald Ridge defense on Senior Night. 
                                Mark Krulish | 
                                Kitsap News Group

Senior forward Grant Larson dribbles through the Emerald Ridge defense on Senior Night. Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group

South Kitsap heads back to the playoffs for the second-straight year

The Wolves picked up a point in a scoreless draw with Emerald Ridge on Senior Night

PORT ORCHARD — South Kitsap boys soccer is headed back to the playoffs for the second-straight year.

The Wolves should be locked into the fifth seed in the bi-district 4A tournament after a scoreless draw with Emerald Ridge May 2 on Senior Night.

Matchups for the district tournament were not set as of press time for the Independent, but South Kitsap should be bound for Sparks Stadium in Puyallup for a 5:30 p.m. contest May 8. Check for the latest updates to the playoff schedule.

After opening the season with a 3-2 win over Graham-Kapowsin, the Wolves lost games to Sumner, Puyallup and Olympia — all teams headed for the postseason. They rebounded with wins over Bellarmine Prep and Rogers, but a 2-0 loss to a 3-9-3 Curtis team over spring break could have meant curtains for South Kitsap.

“It was a slow start right out the gate,” head coach Cory Vartanian said. “We had a few players playing completely out of position. They had to gel and then over spring break, we were missing three players, and we played three games over that time. It was a roller coaster ride.”

But with the draw against Emerald Ridge May 1, the Wolves are unbeaten in six out of their final seven games, including a consequential 2-1 victory over Sumner on a rainy “Friday the 13th” in April. That was Sumner’s first loss of the year after winning eight consecutive games.

South Kitsap had one more match against Curtis on May 3, after press deadline.

“Team bonding brought it together,” senior Colin Nuss said. “We just clicked better as a team as the year went on.”

There were no goals scored on Senior Night, but it likely didn’t matter — it was all about one last match in front of the home fans for the seniors listed on the varsity roster — Quinn Dick, David Mansfield, Grant Larson, Colin Nuss and Andrew Sullivan. Also recognized was Lorenzo Cogoni, an Italian exchange student who played on the C team this year.

And after the game, it was time for selfies and group pictures as friends and family gathered on the field, many of them wearing the Senior Night shirt with their favorite player’s name on the back.

“It’s a special night for them. They’re a close group,” Vartanian said.

Colin Nuss gets a high-five from the Wolves’ mascot as he enters the field on Senior Night May 2. 
                                Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group

Colin Nuss gets a high-five from the Wolves’ mascot as he enters the field on Senior Night May 2. Mark Krulish | Kitsap News Group

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