Sports

Despite dominance, Cougs fall in heartbreaker

Central Kitsap keeper Zach Pendt gets knocked to the ground as he tries to stop a Lincoln shot. CK’s defense was able to clear the ball from the net during first-half action. Despite strong defense and stronger offense, CK fell 1-0 in a 4-3 shootout.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Central Kitsap keeper Zach Pendt gets knocked to the ground as he tries to stop a Lincoln shot. CK’s defense was able to clear the ball from the net during first-half action. Despite strong defense and stronger offense, CK fell 1-0 in a 4-3 shootout.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

For 80 minutes, Central Kitsap’s boys soccer team dominated Lincoln.

For 10 minutes of overtime, CK again controlled the game.

But after a 4-3 shootout, it was the Lincoln Abes left standing.

The Cougars, the Narrows League’s No. 9 team after an early season win had to be forfeited, dominated Lincoln throughout the contest, outshooting the Abes 21-2 for the game. But in the end, the Cougars simply never found the back of the net, ending the team’s season in a loser-out Narrows League Tournament game.

“It was very difficult given the fact that we dominated with our performance but did not deliver with the result,” CK coach Christopher Floro said. “We established an early rhythm, focused on teamwork and just kept it going. We really only had two sloppy moments in our defensive end, otherwise we easily controlled their attacks and mounted numerous of our own.”

With just four seniors in Chase Park, Zach Berlat, Alex Kinsman and Matt Saxon, the Cougars will return a deep squad. But Floro said that doesn’t help this year’s crew, saying the hardest part was “knowing that we were talented enough and capable of going very deep into the playoffs and the state championship.”

“The toughest thing about falling in this shootout was the fact that we dominated Lincoln in every aspect except on the scoreboard,” he said. “I also felt we were ready for the shootout as we had several practice sessions that I felt prepared us for the possibility of a shootout.”

In the shootout, Lee Pendt struck first for CK on the ground, but Lincoln’s Sampson Fletcher tied it up at one with a shot to the upper right corner by CK keeper Zach Pendt. Kevin Barnes then struck one that appeared to be headed in, but ricochetted off the side post, off Abes keeper Jose Talavera and back out. Alex Feist then struck one on the right side to give Lincoln a 2-1 advantage.

CK freshman Ryan Hough evened it up with a left-side grounder and Lincoln’s Gustavo Quiroz fired high off the crossbar to even it up 2-2.

Coug Jeffrey Eagleson put CK up 3-2 and Lincoln’s Dexter Clark again knotted it up.

Down to the final shooters, CK’s Kane Williams had his shot saved by Talavera, while Lincoln’s Philipp Carius got the game-winner to the left side by Zach Pendt.

“I told him I was proud of him no matter the outcome,” Floro said he told Zach Pendt afterwards. “He did his best and kept us in all our games this season.”

With CK having to forfeit a win early this season due to use of an ineligible player, the Cougs also ended up giving up home-field advantage, as the game would have been played in Silverdale if CK had remained the higher seed.

“I really think the forfeited game made a difference, Floro said. “We would have been the No. 7 seed and had a home game against Mount Tahoma, a team we handily defeated 3-0 in our first game of the season. Even with that setback though, we really should have put Lincoln away and moved onto the next round.”

While Floro’s first season at the helm came to a bittersweet end, he knows the future is looking bright for CK. He said the return of the Pendts, Colin Barry, Williams, Adam Cronin and Barnes, as well as his sophomores and freshmen, should make CK more potent.

“We underachieved this year for the talent that we have on this squad, but we will get better and score more goals next year,” Floro said. “I know we will be a force to be reckoned with throughout the league.”

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