Wolves set sights on State

Jesse Askew battles for the ball during Wednesday’s match - Jesse Beals
Jesse Askew battles for the ball during Wednesday’s match
— image credit: Jesse Beals

SK defense shuts out Gig Harbor in convincing win

As the South Kitsap High School boys soccer team clapped in unison along with their fans after Wednesday night’s 2-0 win against Gig Harbor in the Narrows League Tournament, Justin Moore and Ryan Muyskens flashed the crowd with that message painted across their stomachs.

“That’s our goal, of course,” Moore said. “We wanted to come out and have a little fun with it.”

Never mind that South (11-1-2), which faces Olympia at 3:30 p.m. today at Mount Tahoma High School, has never won a state championship. There was little difficulty motivating the Wolves after they suffered their first loss of the season, 2-1, against Bellarmine Prep on April 24, along with the prospect of facing the rival Tides again. South won 1-0 at Gig Harbor in the first meeting between the schools on March 20.

“I feel it didn’t really set us back from our goals at all,” Moore said. “We just come out strong and this is where we start.”

The paint brothers gave the Wolves an early lead when Moore took a pass from Muyskens for his 11th goal in the 14th minute. Jordan Thomas scored their second goal on an assist from Muyskens in the 41st.

“An insurance goal from Jordy Thomas early in the second half will make any defense relax and play smooth together,” South coach Eric Berguson said. “The offense gave them some room to breathe and I thought they played confidently back there.”

Bergeson was effusive in his praise of the Wolves. He said the team’s chemistry and athleticism, primarily because of improved health, are better than their previous meeting against the Tides. From a mental standpoint, he felt they were “ready to go 80 more minutes.”

“As a coach you scan the field to see where danger is brewing and you hope the players are doing the same,” said Bergeson, whose team now is ranked 19th nationally by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America and Adidas National Rankings. “I felt our vision of the field ... was spot on.”

He credited the defense, particularly sophomore Gavin Klein, who Bergeson said was challenged throughout the match by the Tides and goalkeeper Daniel Lathrop for the shutout. It was the sixth of the season for South.

“Last year they came back and beat us the first game,” said Moore, referring to the 3-2 overtime loss in last year’s Narrows League Tournament against Gig Harbor. “It feels good to come back strong, especially against them.”

Bergeson agreed.

“The real motivation is pride in our school and respect for Gig Harbor,” he said. “The desire to go out there and beat them is as strong as any team in our league.”

League being the operative word. After all, there’s no doubt the Wolves feel the same about their upcoming foes.

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