Stadium blows by Cougars

One of the trees surrounding the walkway around Silverdale Stadium gave way under pressure from gusts of wind upwards of 60 mph on Thursday. No one was hurt when the tree snapped during the second half of Thursday’s 2-1 CK loss to Stadium. - Photo by Aaron Managhan
One of the trees surrounding the walkway around Silverdale Stadium gave way under pressure from gusts of wind upwards of 60 mph on Thursday. No one was hurt when the tree snapped during the second half of Thursday’s 2-1 CK loss to Stadium.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan

Soccer players are known for their love of playing the game in all conditions. And while games in rain and mud certainly add a twist to play on the pitch, none affect it as much as Thursday’s wind storm appeared to.

With gusts of wind traveling as fast as 60 mph, both teams had to try to adjust to the ball not going where they were trying to put it. But in the end, it was Stadium edging Central Kitsap 2-1, with every goal scorer putting the ball in the net with the wind at their backs.

Balls that were cleared with powerful boots by defenders got caught and in some cases, went right back from where they came. Shots that would have been little more than over-played passes became bullets, with one Stadium shot traveling a line drive more than 45 yards into the chest of Cougar keeper Ellen Boyd, whose quick reflexes were able to save a goal on the play.

But perhaps the most telling affect on Thursday’s game can’t been seen at Silverdale Stadium anymore.

In the second half with about 10 minutes left in the game, one of the trees on the home side of the field snapped near it’s base, bringing the 50-foot-plus tree down on the fence that separates the track and field from the walkway, bending the chain link fence cross bar while resting on a support beam on the other side of the walkway. No one was injured in the fall.

Officials stopped the game temporarily to discuss potential safety hazards around the field, but decided it would be OK to continue play after an approximately 10 minute delay.

“That was probably one of the more adventurous games I’ve been in,” CK girls soccer coach Vicky Webb said. “It’s one the girls will remember for a long time.”

Central Kitsap fell to Stadium 2-1 on Thursday, two days after defeating North Kitsap 3-1 on the road.

In Thursday’s loss, Stadium (8-1-3 overall, 7-1-2 in Narrows League play) started with the wind behind them. That played to the Tigers’ advantage, as Stadium’s Morgan Swanson scored twice in the first half.

For the first, Swanson was able to break left and cross the ball back to the right by Boyd, a shot aided by the wind. The second goal occurred when Swanson found herself alone in front on a ball the defense had difficulty clearing thanks to the wind.

But with the wind behind them in the second half, CK was confident coming out, with Brandi Hamre firing a shot that deflected off the top cross bar and was covered by Stadium’s keeper before Cougar Hannah Orando could get to the rebound. Hamre found the back of the net at the half’s midpoint however, drilling a strong shot up the middle into the back of the net.

The Cougars were able to generate more second-half shots, but couldn’t get the equalizer in.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t pull that off in the second half,” Webb said. “But I’m not disappointed in the effort of the girls.”

While the Cougars came out determined to use the wind, Webb said that was something they could have done better.

“We tended to do things that didn’t take advantage of the weather situation,” she said. “But you can never fault them for their effort. That’s the thing. We don’t ever give up.”

Despite the loss, CK (10-5-1, 5-4-1) remained in sixth place in the Narrows, which begins tournament play next week. With the postseason fast approaching, Webb said she’s not too worried about her team’s chances, especially considering the team was without a key member during last year’s playoff run.

“This year, we have Jordan (King),” Webb said. “She wasn’t there last year. And you never know. Soccer is just a strange game sometimes.”

The Narrows League is as tight as it’s ever been this season, with the top seven teams sporting winning records. CK is one of just two teams with 10 wins right now, joining league-leader Bellarmine. As Webb put it, it’s all about how the ball bounces now.

“Our league is pretty even in a lot of ways,” she said. “It’s just the ball bounces one way sometimes, then the other. But overall, these girls fight for everything they get every game.”

CK arguably should have been in better position, but a slew of questionable calls in recent games took their toll.

“It’s difficult sometimes,” Webb said. “We had some situations in the last few games where some calls came against us that really affected us.”

But Webb said her team can’t use that as an excuse.

“This group of girls has worked very, very hard,” Webb said. “Again, it’s just one of those things.”

As CK prepares to do battle in a loser-out game Tuesday at Silverdale Stadium with either Lincoln or Mount Tahoma, both of which have just one win, Webb said there’s a lot that will give CK an edge, most important of which is experience.

“A lot,” Webb said. “It’s the settling of the nerves. ‘I’ve been there before and I know what it’s like.’”

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