A chilly, rainy night couldn’t slow down the South Kitsap offensive attack; the Wolves scored a pair of second-half goals and dominated play in a 2-0 victory over North Kitsap in Poulsbo Thursday night.
South Kitsap (4-1) had a few near-misses in the first half, but Lily Lutovsky and Sierrah VanGesen both found the back of the net in the final 40 minutes. And the defense was able to sweep away any of the Vikings’ (2-3) offensive opportunities, preserving the clean sheet.
“It was a good team effort toward the end there,” South Kitsap coach Hailey Parker said. “It was really good to see the girls connecting through the middle to find the forwards’ feet.”
On the other end of the pitch, the South Kitsap defense played tight and didn’t allow the Vikings to get much going on offense. Their best chance came in the second half on a Grace Billings free kick, but Wolves keeper Bianca Cunningham came up with the stop.
“We’re reacting rather than anticipating,” North Kitsap coach Greg St. Peter said. “I think overall the team looks like they’re lacking confidence. Defensively we’re doing fine, our back line has been great, but they’re busy a lot.”
North Kitsap has had two pretty large senior classes graduate over the past couple of years, so the team is a little shorter on varsity experience than in years past; there are only four seniors on the roster and they’re also missing top scorer Kamora McMillian.
But the program continues to bring aboard talented young players, and they will be looking to build their chemistry for future seasons over the next couple of weeks.
“We have some good opponents left to boost their confidence a little bit and hopefully they can make the most of what’s left of the season,” St. Peter said.
For South Kitsap, Lutovsky got the Wolves on the board in the 54th minute. VanGesen drove the ball across the face of the defense and reversed field, sending a pass back the other way to Lutovsky, who unleashed a hard strike from the top of the penalty area.
The diminutive midfielder has a powerful shot that belies her size and has been a part of her game that has shown tremendous improvement this season, her coach sais.
“I think I’ve definitely been getting stronger and really trying to focus on that aspect, especially since I do have that space now to create whereas in years past I haven’t,” Lutovsky said. “I have those opportunities to take those shots, so that’s something I’ve been really trying to perfect.”
Parker added: “She has an incredible shot, both right and left foot; she can just put her body through that ball. It’s never about size; it’s always about technique, and she’s got it down.”
About 12 minutes later, VanGesen struck again, this time finishing off the play herself. Kimberly Matthews had the ball with speed down the left wing and was able to find VanGesen in the middle of the field. VanGesen opened up some space for herself and smashed the ball past the keeper.
Lutovsky and VanGesen also both scored against North Kitsap in their previous matchup last Saturday in Port Orchard, also a 2-0 triumph.
VanGesen was a strong physical presence in the middle of the field all match long and helped South Kitsap dominate possession in the more-recent game.
“They both showed up really, really well tonight and had a wonderful game,” Parker said.