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Penalty kick derails South Kitsap's state aspirations | Girls soccer
SPANAWAY — There is no debate that the senior class is among the most talented in the history of South Kitsap’s girls soccer program.
But others had more fortune.
That was clear as the Wolves’ season finished on a penalty kick conversion by Hunter Mar to secure a 1-0 win Saturday morning for Kentridge in the Class 4A West Central District Tournament at Art Crate Field.
Multiple South players converged to clear the ball out of the goal area. One of the Wolves was called for a handball, giving the Chargers a penalty kick in the 62nd minute. Sophomore midfielder Hunter Mar put the shot in the left side of the net past diving goalkeeper Elisa Randel to send her team to state.
“I didn’t see a hand ball,” said South coach Julie Cain, whose team finished with a 9-4-3 record. “It wasn’t a foul, so I’m not sure what he saw.”
Defender Delaney DiGiovanni, one of seven Wolves who graduate off the team, said there technically was a violation.
“It was a hand ball,” she said. “She didn’t swat it down, but it did touch her arm. He could have not called it and it wouldn’t have been a problem. I wouldn’t have called it. His decision made the game.
“I don’t blame the refs. We should’ve scored earlier. It’s frustrating.”
But South’s Class of 2013 might reflect on the last two seasons for other reasons. Despite playing without standout midfielder Miranda Caballero, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee in 2011, the Wolves advanced to the state quarterfinals. With forward Becca Schoales, who generally is regarded as the state’s top player, and the return of Caballero, a run at the state championship did not seem unrealistic.
That was before Schoales, who is committed to the University of Washington, tore her right anterior-cruciate ligament during club season.
“I had a lot of plans for this year and then Becca got injured,” said Cain, referring to strategy.
Even with the return of Caballero, who recently committed to Middle Tennessee State, South struggled to score early in the season. During the first half of league play, the Wolves scored just seven goals and had a 2-2-2 record. They scored 17 times during the second half of 4A Narrows play and were 4-1-1.
“I think this is a team that did a great turnaround,” Cain said. “We were a strong possession team during the first half of the season, but not scoring goals. I think if we had gone to that stuff earlier … we would’ve had a little higher ranking in our league and a little easier game out of districts.”
The match felt similar to the first half of the season for South, which had possession for the majority of the contest and outshot Kentridge 14-5. Cain said finding opportunities became more challenging during the second half as the Chargers “packed” in their back.
Both teams were physical throughout the match, as well. That perhaps was best exhibited during the 61st when Kentridge defender Abby Klinkenberg and South forward Brita Olseon got into a shoving match while vying for the ball. Both were assessed yellow cards.
Cain said that style of play represented her team’s passion to be successful.
“Heart was our theme for this year,” she said. “I think it defines this team really well.”
Kentridge 1, South Kitsap 0
Second half-1, Kentridge, Hunter Mar (penalty kick), 62nd minute.