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Boys soccer: Own goal contributes to Wolves' season-ending loss
It was an unlikely bounce.
At least that is how South Kitsap boys soccer coach Julie Cain described the Wolves’ 2-0 season-ending loss Saturday against Union in the West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament at Vancouver’s Kiggins Bowl.
After goalkeeper Jaxom Beverage saved a shot in the 10th minute, Cain said the ball bounced off a teammate and into South’s net.
“We had an own goal against us about 10 minutes into the first half and it kind of deflated us,” she said. “We had been playing really well. It was hard to come back from that.”
It marked the first time the Wolves, who finished with a 6-6-4 record, advanced to districts since 2010.
Senior midfielder Diego de la Cruz — arguably the state’s top player — did not play this year because his club team, Crossfire Premier, does not allow any of its athletes to compete for a high school.
“It was huge to lose Diego,” Cain said.
Not only from a talent standpoint, but experience. South only featured four seniors — Shea Baxter, Mike Nation, Justin Peterson and Donovan Warrington.
“They provided great leadership even though they were small numbers,” Cain said.
She noted those players had to transition to another system when she became the school’s fourth coach in the last five years.
“It was not easy for them to have a new coach an hour before tryouts,” Cain said. “I’m proud of the guys.”
After accepting the job, Cain said she would have a “candid conversation” with players about whether they were comfortable with a female coach.
“The guys and I had a conversation,” she said. “I think I will come back and coach next year.
“The guys were so much fun this year. It was just a blast.”
Cain has coached the girls’ soccer program at South since 2009 and previously was an assistant for the women’s team from 2002-05 at Seattle Pacific University, but this was her first time coaching boys outside of youths.
“It was a very new experience for me,” Cain said. “The coaches in the league were great for me.”
She said noted there are significant stylistic differences between the boys and girls games, and Bellarmine Prep coach Joe Waters, who also coaches both, has offered to mentor her. Cain said she accepted the offer and will glean from his coaching style and others in the Class 4A Narrows League.
After going through a full season, Cain also said she wants to make some adjustments with her coaching staff, including the addition of an assistant coach who will mentor goalkeepers.