Halftime usually is an interval for reviewing Xs and Os and making adjustments.
But during South Kitsap’s 3-1 loss Tuesday night against Stadium in Class 4A Narrows League play, it was used for something different.
After a short — but fiery — pep talk from coach Julie Cain, the Wolves lined up for passing drills.
“This is the first time I’ve done that,” said Cain, who has coached youth to collegiate athletes. “It didn’t help.”
Cain said she generally has been happy with how South (4-4-3 overall, 4-4-2 league) has possessed the ball — until now.
“We were taking two or three extra touches in the first half,” she said. “They just played with a lot more energy. They won most of the balls in the midfield.”
The Tigers (6-4-2, 6-3-1) struggled to take advantage of those opportunities, though. Midfielder Max Harvey and forward Andrew Foreman both had one-on-one shots against goalkeeper Jaxom Beverage during the first 10 minutes, but failed to convert.
“We didn’t bury the ball in the first half,” Stadium coach John Baretta said. “We were sleep walking in the first half.”
That changed after halftime. Midfielder Jacob Beardemphl’s shot in the 49th minute was saved by Beverage when he deflected it into the air with his right arm. But the Tigers quickly regained possession and took advantage as midfielder Jordan Cohen scored the following minute.
The Wolves never recovered.
“That was kind of my fault for putting us into a 3-4-3,” Cain said. “We were trying to get more of an attack. But I opened the back and probably shouldn’t have done that.”
Stadium followed with goals in the 54th on a header by forward Patrick Ganu, while Cohen scored again in the 58th.
“We outplayed them,” Baretta said.
And on a rainy night on the grass surface at Joe Knowles Stadium, that was more than enough.
South’s lone goal came in the 63rd when senior defender Mike Nation got past goalkeeper Nick Rosato on a pass from junior defender Connor Bitterman.
Cain said Nation was among the few Wolves who played well. She challenged her players to increase their effort at halftime.
“I was just trying to give us some fire,” Cain said. “We didn’t have it.”
South now drops into a tie for fourth place with Gig Harbor. Both teams have four league contests remaining. The Wolves own the tiebreaker against the Tides for now because of their 1-0 win March 29 at Gig Harbor, but the rivals meet again during the May 8 regular-season finale at South. That could determine which school advances to the West Central District Tournament as only the top four placers in 4A Narrows qualify for the playoffs.
“This puts more pressure on the Gig Harbor game,” Cain said.
Last year, the Wolves lost three of their last four contests to finish in fifth place and miss the playoffs.
Stadium 3, at South Kitsap 1
Second half—1, Stadium, Jordan Cohen, 50th minute; 2, Stadium, Patrick Ganu, 54th; 3, Stadium, Cohen, 58th; 4, South Kitsap, Mike Nation (Connor Bitterman), 63rd.