Boys soccer: Wolves narrowly edged by Bellarmine Prep — again

South Kitsap junior midfielder Justin Peterson vies for the ball during the Wolves’ 2-1 loss Tuesday night against Bellarmine Prep. - Kenny Gatlin Photo
South Kitsap junior midfielder Justin Peterson vies for the ball during the Wolves’ 2-1 loss Tuesday night against Bellarmine Prep.
— image credit: Kenny Gatlin Photo

Close is becoming a tired word at South Kitsap.

For a fifth consecutive time in the series between the programs, the Wolves fell one-goal short in a 2-1 loss Tuesday against Bellarmine Prep at Joe Knowles Field.

South (4-2-1 overall, 2-2-1 league) has not defeated the Lions since 1987. But that does not mean the Wolves did not have opportunities. They had a pair of shots on goal in the final two minutes, but could not convert.

Forward Joey Lovejoy scored the go-ahead goal for Bellarmine (5-0-0, 4-0-0) in the 43rd minute. It came just moments after a shot by South sophomore forward Joey Starr was saved. Coach James Ritchie felt Starr was fouled on the play and should have been awarded a penalty kick.

“I was still in the mood for what I thought was a penalty,” said Ritchie, when asked about Lovejoy’s goal. “We were sucker punched.”

He said the missed scoring opportunity, coupled with Lovejoy’s goal, changed the momentum of the game.

“I think in the second half we got out of our game a little bit,” Ritchie said. “We didn’t quite get the ball flowing the way we usually do.”

The Lions took a 1-0 lead when forward Alexander Vogt’s shot found the right corner of the net. The Wolves responded two minutes later when senior midfielder Alex Craig, who missed last season because of a knee injury, found junior captain Diego de la Cruz for a shot that ricocheted off a Bellarmine defender and into the net.

“It was a great cross … and Diego struck it clean,” Ritchie said. “It took a deflection — and took a whacky bounce off the (defender’s) leg.”

Bellarmine won, 2-0, on March 22 at Stadium, a team that had little difficulty dispatching South in the Class 4A Narrows League opener for both schools. The Tigers defeated the Wolves, 3-0, on March 16.

Ritchie said his team’s ability to compete against the Lions is reflective of their improvement.

“They’re coming a long way in a short period,” he said. “If you work hard and fight hard, go things happen. I’m proud of them.”

That does not mean the latest close loss in the series was easy for him to accept.

“I’m just disappointed,” he said. “Not with the boys. Not with the effort. With life.”

Bellarmine Prep 2, South Kitsap 1
First half—1, Bellarmine Prep, Alexander Vogt, 21st minute; 2, South Kitsap, Diego de la Cruz (Alex Craig), 23rd.
Second half—3, Bellarmine Prep, Joey Lovejoy, 43rd.

March 24
South Kitsap 3, at Mount Tahoma 0
First half—1, South Kitsap, Dallas Brewster, 32nd; 2, South Kitsap, Brewster, 36th.
Second half—3, South Kitsap, Brewster, 55th.

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