Young SK soccer team falls one game short of state tourney

"They weren’t even supposed to be there.Gary Trautman, the South Kitsap High School girls’ soccer coach, had nothing but praise for his team after it ended the season with a 3-0 loss in the West Central District game against the Curtis Vikings at Lakewood Saturday afternoon.A win over Curtis would have thrust the Wolves into the state tournament for the second time in school history. Their only other appearance in the tournament came in 1992.But Curtis, last year’s 4A state runner-up proved, too strong for a young SK team that sported only three seniors.“This was supposed to be a rebuilding year,” Trautman said. “We weren’t even supposed to be here.”Senior co-captain Patty Blankenship echoed the same sentiments.“I was definitely pleased with the season,” she said. “I hope to say that this was a rebuilding year, because if it was, next year they’re going to be even better. That’s something to look forward to.”The Wolves played 60 minutes of strong soccer and had scoring opportunities in both halves, but Curtis’ Carla Tennison, a junior, went on a scoring rampage, recording a hat trick in an 11-minute span before the first half concluded.Tennison’s first goal came off an assist from Division I recruit Halley McNallan.McNallan fed Tennison the ball on a corner kick where Tennison was waiting from 18 yards out. She booted it from there and with authority and pin-point placement landed the ball in the upper right corner, as SK’s sophomore goalkeeper Megan Morey could only watch in amazement.The Wolves continued to battle but their faces turned to dejection six minutes later when Tennison launched a 30-yard bomb, which slipped out of the hands of the leaping Morey.Tennison put the game out of reach five minutes later with a goal off a corner kick.The Wolves didn’t go down without trying in the second half, though. The defense stepped up and shutout Curtis, and SK found some scoring opportunities, but they just couldn’t put the whole package together at Curtis’ muddy home field.Trautman credited the successful season — which included wins against Gig Harbor and Stadium — to the leadership of his senior trio of Blankenship, Alexis Wright, and Kim Roberts.“All three seniors played well today,” Trautman said. “Alexis gave us everything she had until her body just flamed out. Kim played hard the whole time, and Patty just played a whale of a game. She was obviously a presence out there.”Though scoring the game-winning header to defeat Bellarmine for the first time two years ago ranks as one of Blankenship’s fondest memories, she said the 3-0 loss to Curtis may be the most memorable game of her high school career.“Most memorable was today because a lot of the girls on the other team are on my club team,” Blankenship said. It was fun.”Blankenship, who played sweeper or midfielder this season, continually frustrated the Curtis attack at sweeper. “I wanted to make it (last game) something to remember, and I think I did,” she said. For Roberts it hasn’t quite sunk in her high school playing days are over.“It was a great four years, but it’s sad right now,” Roberts said. “I gotta wait until it hits me that I’m not playing anymore. It’ll feel weird once it hits me.”Roberts said her best memories include the win against Bellarmine two years ago, the victory against Gig Harbor this year — the Tides only loss thus far.Roberts said she was proud of the team’s accomplishments this year.“Even though we didn’t win today we made it to districts, which we hadn’t done in a few years.”Trautman said he will miss the senior trio, but can’t help but think of the future of SK soccer.With all but three starters returning, SK will be a team to be reckoned with for years to come.“But Stadium has only three seniors, too, and only two juniors in their program,” Trautman said with a smile."

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