Oly beats NK for final playoff berth

POULSBO — The Olympic Trojans were faced with an end or a beginning at the start of the game Wednesday night. The playoffs were at stake in Poulsbo as Olympic faced fifth-ranked NK.

It was senior night for North Kitsap, and the six were finally all back in action.

“I was finally able to play (almost) all of the seniors about two weeks ago,” Coach Pat Stickney said of injury woes. Most of the senior group suffered injuries early in the season, Stickney said. “It was nice for them to get some time.”

By Wednesday night they had all returned. The senior ceremony was presented during the pre-game followed by “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Four years of memories poured into minute-long speeches echoed through the stadium followed by applause. By the start of the game, North was ready to play.

All six seniors started along with intensity for the Vikings. The Trojans came to play as well and the teams battled scoreless halfway through the first half. They hashed it around midfield, with few shot attempts early.

Despite the small number of shots, North’s offense controlled the game through the middle of the first half. The few Oly shots that were taken were denied by keeper Kelsey Krasas.

Brenna Lander helped to hasten North’s offense, but she ended up too quick multiple times in the game; with 11 minutes left in the half an offsides call stopped a Viking drive. Another opportunity was thwarted as an Amber Grable one-on-one with Pepper Fauna ended up out of bounds for Oly’s possession.

Repeatedly, the Vikings got out in front of the Oly defenders, but the Trojans always got back before a shot was taken.

With just under five minutes left in the half, Shannon White cut and caught a pass in the heart of the North’s defense which she closed and crossed past Krasas for the initial goal of the game. The ensuing energy revitalized the Trojans.

Olympic threatened again from close on their next advance, but the inside pass just missed. White knocked the wind out of the Vikings, scoring from deep with a little over a minute left in the half; it left Trojan fans wanting “one more before half!”

Olympic got a good look on a corner kick with 30 seconds, but the header sailed over the goal. At halftime the score was 2-0, advantage Oly.

The Trojans came out of the half as the aggressors. Two minutes in, Oly freshman Amanda Kadrmas stole a good look from the left side and barely missed long. The shot got the team riled up, and Rachel Haas capitalized putting the Trojans up by her number close to five minutes into the half.

A zig-zagging White breakaway ended in a shot off the crossbar and another Olympic corner nearly got knocked in at 32 minutes, while North struggled to keep the ball in Oly’s field.

A string of offsides penalties and timid shots cancelled out Viking advances. But North attacked relentlessly combatting Olympics attempts.

The NK attempts started to get more strategic nearing the end of the game, but the long passes couldn’t quite slice the Trojan defense. Short passes, though, moved the ball forward and into the goalie box again and after three shots on Fauna, NK senior Madeliene Hernandez scored North’s goal.

At the end of the post-game handshakes, the Vikings split to each end of the field to take the nets down for the season.

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