Oly girls leap-frog to league title

"There were no actual fireworks at last Tuesday night's Olympic League girls soccer game between Olympic and Central Kitsap. Just a trio of Steve Haggerty Skyrockets. Each of the three goals Haggerty's Trojans scored was more crucial than the one before. And with each goal, Haggerty leapt a little higher into the steely Silverdale sky. Oly's 3-2 victory - finally secured by sophomore Tiffany Hamre's goal less than two minutes before the final whistle - might've meant the difference between going to the state Class 4A playoffs or staying home for the two Central Kitsap School District rivals. North Kitsap's 2-0 upset of Port Angeles Tuesday at Poulsbo, however, left the door open for the Battle of Bucklin Hill winner to claim the league championship and No. 1 playoff berth, and the loser to claim the No. 2 playoff berth. That scenario was played out Wednesday when Olympic topped Klahowya and Central Kitsap beat Bremerton, both by 4-0 scores, allowing both to leapfrog idle PA in the final league standings. No one knew about North's knock-off of the Roughriders Tuesday evening, however, while the Trojans and Cougars were tearing away at each other in the belief that there was no tomorrow. So the outcome left CK coach Lee Yeager talking in a disappointed whisper and Haggerty gushing like a Fourth of July sparkler. This was like a playoff game for us, said Haggerty, whose Trojans lost to Kent-Meridian in the first round of the state playoffs last year. If we lost, we were done. But we knew after we tied Port Angeles (1-1 on Oct. 5 at Silverdale) that if we won out, we'd go to the playoffs. Pointing across the field to where the Cougars commiserated, he added, We knew it wouldn't be easy. We knew we would have to get past them. Traditionally, that's no small order. The Cougs won the two teams' Sept. 28 meeting 1-0 in overtime, and the distsrict rivals seldom have been separated by more than one goal in previous clashes. Both teams played hard. They got the balls they needed, said CL coach Lee Yeager, whose team lost a 1-0 lead when Oly scored two goals in the last six minutes before halftime, then tied the game early in the second half only to be scuttled when Hamre's over-the-shoulder curveball in the 78th minute found the upper corner inside the far goalpost. Nicole Zygmontowicz scored the first CK goal and assisted on Sarah Parker's equalizer. On this night, however, the Trojans proved even tougher to stop than they were to score against. Rapid-fire goals by freshman Lindsay Neste and senior Erin Laird completely changed the momentum of the game after the Cougars seemed in control for the first half hour. I told the girls at halftime that we probably weren't going to be able to keep them out of the goal, Yeager said of the volatile Trojans, who finished the season with a league-best 67 goals. It wouldn't make any difference if we could score more than they could, though. The second half started promisingly, then, for the Cougars, as Parker ran into the middle of the box to knock Zygmontowicz' throw-in past Oly goalie Tiffany Jess to make it 2-2. After that, though, CK's offense went silent, managing only one more shot in the final 30 minutes. Troy didn't fare much better, but got a trio of shots as the game wound towards overtime. Laird and Chantal Ricard both missed wide, but Ricard later delivered the ball to Hamre outside the penalty box on the right wing. She spun towards the end line and looped a perfect shot over Cougar keeper Kelly Costello and into the far corner of the goal. We could've hung our heads after they scored early, and we could've hung our heads after they tied it up, Haggerty said. Instead, we stepped it up. "

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