Sports

Three-way hunt for Narrows playoffs

In the world of high school soccer, a team doesn’t always play for a win.

Such was the case in a game that will go down as one of the top matches the Narrows League Bridge Division has seen this season, with South Kitsap playing to a 1-1 tie at host Olympic on Thursday.

“The old adage is that a tie is kind of like kissing your sister,” Oly coach Steve Haggerty said. “I’m just hoping my sister is adopted because this one felt pretty good.”

With the 1-1 tie, Olympic (7-5-1, 6-4-1) moves past Central Kitsap for sole possession of fourth place in the race to secure a Bridge Division playoff spot.

The game was very evenly matched, with both sides trading off being the aggressor and defenders.

After playing to a 0-0 tie at the half, the Wolves (10-0-4, 8-0-4) seemed to get momentum rolling in their favor after Tori Fairweather scored in the 43rd minute.

But it took just 6 minutes for Olympic’s Shannon White, who was battling a knee injury, found open net thanks to a Liz Curry assist.

“Shannon, there you go. She’s a gamer,” Haggerty said. “She was in the right place at the right time.”

The tie was huge for Olympic, which wanted to avoid a loss at all costs.

“South has not been giving up many goals. We wanted a 0-0 tie,” Haggerty said. “That’s what we knew. It’s nice to rack up a win against SK, but sometimes you have to play not to lose. I think we played that way today.”

The first time the teams met in September, South won 3-0. Wolves coach Eric Bergeson said Oly was much more aggressive on offense this time around.

“I thought they did more attacking today. They just sent more attackers,” he said, adding that Oly played his team tough.

“We’re still going to the playoffs,” Bergeson added. “It’s more important for us to look to get better. This is an excellent opportunity for our defense to become more humble. It hasn’t been coming for free. It’s really something they’ve had to work for.”

One key move that anchor Oly on defense was moving Curry, one of the Trojans’ top scoring options, back to defense.

“Liz Curry in back was great,” Haggerty said. “We wanted to be solid in back. We knew we were solid in our goal keeping situation. The goal going into this was to pick up some points.”

As for changes to the offensive game plan, Olympic moved more to the outside, something they didn’t do the first go round.

“The key to the game was getting the ball to the outside,” Haggerty said. “The last time we played South we kept the ball in the middles and they just swarmed us.”

Oly had a couple chances to score late, but a great power shot by Trojan freshman Allie Brown, another key to the game, bounced hard off the right crossbar. Olympic simply wasn’t in place to get the rebound with an empty net.

The tie helped clear a muddied Bridge picture that could still shift back to uncertainty before it’s all said and done.

With Gig Harbor topping Central Kitsap 2-0 Thursday, the Tides retain the top spot with 30 points. SK is now in second with 28. North Kitsap is back at a distant third (they beat Shelton 5-0 Thursday) with 20 points. Oly follows at 19 while CK is now in fifth with 18.

Haggerty said he hopes this game proves to be a confidence booster for his girls.

“I think if our kids can see that they can create opportunities against South Kitsap, there’s no reason we can’t create opportunities against other teams we play,” he said. “But we can’t look past anyone.”

Oly and CK went head-to-head Friday, but results were unavailable at press time. Oly will travel to Shelton on Monday.

CENTRAL KITSAP

The Cougars (5-4-4, 5-3-3) slipped a little in the playoff race, but through no fault of their own, CK coach Vicky Webb said after Thursday’s 2-0 loss to Gig Harbor.

“We got robbed down here,” Webb said after the road loss. “The girls were working so dog-gawn hard. (CK keeper) Sam (Robbins) came out to get the ball and one of their players fell in the goal box. Their coach said he agreed.”

But the officials did not, giving Gig Harbor a penalty kick that the Tides’ Elizabeth Betterbed would pound through after 73 scoreless minutes in the game.

Gig Harbor would add another score three minutes later, but again, Webb said Sara Baumgardner appeared to be offsides.

“Everybody thought it was offsides,” Webb said. “It just takes the wind out of our sails. The refs shouldn’t decide the outcome.”

Webb said the team was playing as good as it has all season, something that added to the team’s frustration.

“We really were playing well. We had them on their heels,” she said. “The girls really gave everything they had. They’re frustrated with that.”

With the season winding down, CK knows it must play its best to get past North Kitsap or Olympic and back into the playoffs.

“We’re masters of our own fate. But we’ve got to get busy,” Webb said. “We can’t count anyone out. The girls (in the Bridge) play with a lot of heart, desire and focus. Everyone is pretty darn even.”

CK also will host Bremerton at 7 p.m. Monday.

KLAHOWYA

The Eagles stuck it to Chimacum on Tuesday, topping the Cowboys 2-1 on the road to help solidify their playoff outlook in the Nisqually League.

Klahowya, now 6-6-1 (5-4-0 in league), is sitting in fourth place of the six teams to head to the 2A West Central District Tournament, which will be held at Silverdale Stadium this season.

Sheree Kuehl stepped up big for the Eagles, scoring in the 32nd minute and assisting on Brittany Corley’s game-winner in the 78th minute.

The Eagles take on Sequim at noon today at Silverdale Stadium, and will head to Port Townsend on Tuesday.

With wins, the Eagles could improve on their playoff positioning, which would already have them hosting their first-round match in addition to playing at home for the WCD tourney.

Port Townsend is fighting for the fifth spot now, but is two games behind the Eagles in the standings.

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