Wolves top Olympic in shootout

It was only a week ago the South Kitsap High School boys soccer team found itself in fourth place in the Narrows League Bridge Division and needing help to climb up the standings.

The Wolves took care of their own business with wins against Central Kitsap and Bremerton to move into second place, but their regular season had concluded and they could only wait and see if Olympic and Port Angeles would catapult them in the standings.

Gig Harbor had first place wrapped up, but the battle was on for the final three playoff spots.

Sure enough, PA and Olympic were unable to notch wins against North Kitsap and Gig Harbor.

The result from those games dropped PA to fourth place and vaulted SK and Olympic into a tie for second place.

A rankings formula is used to break the tie, but both teams were identical in all categories, forcing the teams to playoff Thursday night at Bremerton.

Olympic’s John Hoogestraat drew first blood with a goal 40 seconds into the game.

But SK midfielder Nick Fletcher countered with a goal 14 minutes later to tie the score 1-1.

The teams showed how evenly matched they are. Ball possession was nearly equal and both teams squandered point-blank scoring opportunities within the last 20 minutes of regulation.

Unable to break the tie in regulation, the game went into two five-minute overtime periods.

The teams remained in a stalemate and were forced to win in a penalty kick shootout.

SK coach Eric Bergeson said he anticipated the game would come down to penalty kicks.

“At practice (Wednesday), I knew in my heart we were going to play Olympic and that it would probably come down to (penalty kicks),” Bergeson said. “We met at 2:15 in the locker room to have our picture taken for the post-season program in our uniforms and cleats and had about 45 minutes to practice just PKs, and I spent another 30 or 40 minutes of deliberations with our coaches (Eric Little and Sean Griffioen) on choosing our order.”

Bergeson said Xs and Os are only one aspect of being a coach.

“As a coaching staff, you do yourself the most service by being prepared,” Bergeson said. “That way your kids are prepared and your kids aren’t surprised. We just assume it’s coming and play the cards that are dealt.”

The SK players did just that.

Seniors Derek Dunlap, Brandon Stacy, and Nick Fletcher scored on their penalty kicks and Olympic countered with three of its own.

On the fourth kick junior Jason Boyette gave SK a 4-3 lead, forcing Hoogestraat to make his shot to even the score.

But the junior missed wide left, clipping the outside of the post.

Emotions were flying as Fruner, a junior, calmly placed the ball on the spot and netted the shot.

The team charged towards Fruner and jubilation ensued.

Fruner said there was no way he was going to miss the shot.

“I knew I just had to put it in,” Fruner said. “I knew I was going left side the whole time. It’s great. It’s the best feeling ever.”

Bergeson said sophomore goalkeeper Danny Phelps deserves a lot of credit for keeping SK in the ball game.

“Danny Phelps kept us in it,” Bergeson said. “He played the best game I have ever seen him play. He deserves it. He had a rough outing against Oly last time, so nobody wanted this more than he did.”

SK travels to Stadium Bowl today at 1:30 p.m. to play Stadium — the No. 2 team out of the Bay Division — for the No. 3/No. 4 seeds into the district tournament.

Win or lose, SK will be one win away from making its first state appearance since 1999.

Bergeson said it would be a thrill beating a top program like Stadium.

“John Beretta is a phenomenal coach and he’s a joy to watch and he pulls no punches,” Bergeson said. “They get a home game, but we’ve had some success there. We’re doing OK on turf; we just have to do the things we do well.”

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