Better late than never

"It was a game where there was a lot going on ... except offense.An emotional early-season matchup between Olympic League rivals Central Kitsap and Klahowya yielded mostly a defensive battle until the Cougars solved the Eagles for two goals in the final 18 minutes and claimed a 2-0 victory.It was the first meeting of the two teams since sophomore midfielder Nicole Zygmontowicz transferred from Klahowya, which she helped to the state Class 2A championship as a freshman last fall, to 4A Central Kitsap.And it was the anniversary of sorts of Klahowya's victory over the Cougars in their first meeting last year, which threw CK into an early-season tailspin that effectively prevented the Cougs from contending for a playoff spot.Add in the usual stiff north wind ripping across the Silverdale Stadium floor, and there was a lot for both teams to figure out.No wonder it was 62 minutes and change before the Cougars (2-1 following a 1-0 win over Port Angeles Thursday) found the netting, Keely Malhiot getting open in the middle of the box and drilling a low shot that froze Klahowya's freshman goalkeeper, Alicia Langdon.Stephanie Sitton added insurance six minutes from the final whistle with a goal off Zygmontowicz's long throw-in.When you play most of the game in your end, eventually one of those (shots) is going to find the back of the net, Klahowya coach Troy Oelschlager shrugged after his team slipped to 0-1-1 (prior to Thursday's 3-0 victory over Sequim). We held them out for a long time, but not long enough.This was a big game for us, said the Cougars' junior defender Brittany Healy-Tuke. We got off to a rough start last year, and we didn't want that to happen again.Healy-Tuke had the task of marking Klahowya striker Hilary Crisman, who is also her FC Kitsap Acclaim teammate. She said shutting Crisman out was no easy task.She's such a tough player, and she's got great moves, Healy-Tuke said. She's got the potential to just go where she wants to go. It's hard to stay on her, and if she gets open, she just goes to the goal.But there weren't many opportunities for Crisman to go to the goal Tuesday. The Cougars won the battles of possession and field position, outshooting the Eagles 20-5 and containing the play mostly in their attacking end as senior goalie Kelly Costello collected the shutout.They're a counterattacking team, so you're never really safe, CK coach Lee Yeager said of the Eagles. You can never let down for a minute, or they'll get one on you. We played hard.Yeager said the Cougs had to solve both the Klahowya defense, which concentrated on taking away the middle of the field, and the elements - the wind and the Silverdale Stadium carpet.We don't get to train on this turf very often - it hurts both teams this early in the season, Yeager said. We're not used to it yet. Both teams had trouble trying to judge the bounce. "

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