Shelton’s 2nd-half surge dooms South

Having squandered nearly a dozen scoring opportunities in the first half, South Kitsap High School boys soccer coach Eric Bergeson figured it was a matter of time before his team scored in the second half of its Narrows League Bridge Division matchup with Shelton.

Instead, Shelton made adjustments and turned what was a 0-0 tie at the halfway mark into a 3-0 win at SK Thursday evening.

Rather than taking sole possession of second place, SK (4-2-1) remains in third place behind Gig Harbor (6-0-1) and Shelton (6-1).

Bergeson said he was disappointed his team couldn’t find a way to put the ball in the net, but wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort.

“After the Olympic tie (last week), I can’t say we played as hard as we could,” Bergeson said. “After this game I can say we did.”

Shelton’s Peter Sloane caught a gambling SK goalkeeper Jared Stevenson off line and scored on a header to give Shelton a 1-0 lead with 26 minutes to go in the game.

Nearly 14 minutes later Shelton’s Cesar Cifuentes caught SK’s defense in transition and booted home a second goal to push the Highclimbers ahead 2-0.

With under 10 minutes to play, Bergeson was forced to push his players up in an attempt to score.

Shelton was able to use that to its advantage when Sloane scored again on a header for a 3-0 lead.

“Our whole team was moving one way and you don’t give your defense a chance,” Bergeson said. “Our defense constantly had to defend in transition because our midfield couldn’t hold the ball in the attack area.”

While the loss was disappointing, Bergeson said it provides a time to assess his team’s character.

“These are the best teaching and learning moments, as hard as they are, to learn to maintain a high level of class with the type of soccer we play” he said. “We’re going to work on keeping that family attitude and positive environment. You always want to have a better result but we need to maintain our sense of unity no matter what’s going on with soccer.”

Sitting in third place with half a season to go, Bergeson said he thinks his team can turn things around.

He’s happy with the talent he has.

The question will be how mentally tough the team will be as the season progresses.

“I think frustration can manifest itself,” Bergeson said. “But I like seeing that frustration. It seemed like the game mattered to them 10 times more than the Gig Harbor game (two weeks ago). They were fighting for something. You can’t ask for any more from a group of young men than to play their hearts out.”

Bergeson said Shelton de-serves a lot of credit for making the proper adjustments in the second half.

“That’s a quality program,” he said. “They’ve got four or five players that have college scholarships waiting for them. They just outplayed us in the second half.”

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