SK booters creep closer to division lead

Before entertaining thoughts of a rematch against league leaders Shelton and Gig Harbor, the South Kitsap High School boys soccer team has to prove it can beat the teams it’s supposed to beat.

The Wolves passed one of those tests Thursday night with a 2-0 win at home against North Kitsap.

Accompanied by a strong wind and winter-like temperatures, both teams played to a first-half draw.

The weather was cold enough to cut the halftime intermission in half to just five minutes, and the Wolves were all business after the break.

Six minutes into the second half SK’s Brendan Sweglar raced with the ball just inside the penalty box when he was tackled from behind, drawing a whistle from the referee.

Sweglar was hurt on the play and came off the field.

Teammate Nick Fruner calmly waited for the referee’s whistle and blasted a shot into the lower right side of the goal to give SK a 1-0 lead.

Nearly 17 minutes later SK got the insurance goal it needed.

The play started from the sidelines about 40 yards from the goal.

Defender Hiram Davis bounced his throw-in off of the back of Konnar-Kaio Maddox. Davis settled the ball and switched it to the other side of the field, where a dashing John Van Geelkerken took possession and crossed it into the middle section of the goal box.

Sweglar was there to greet the ball and one-timed it in the net for the Wolves’ second goal of the game.

SK’s defense continued to hold fast, as it had all game, and the Wolves put themselves within striking distance of Shelton and Gig Harbor with a little less than half a regular season to go.

Shelton currently sits atop the Narrows League’s Bridge Division with 19 points; Gig Harbor is right behind with 18.

The Wolves, with 16 points, not only closed in on the leaders but created some breathing room between themselves and fourth-place Central Kitsap (11 points).

SK can increase its hold on third place with a win against CK at home Tuesday at 5 p.m.

Sweglar said he envisions more victories if the team continues to distribute the ball like it did in the second half against North Kitsap.

“We’ve just been trying to pull together,” he said. “We used more teamwork here. We’ve been working hard on ball passing in practice.”

SK coach Eric Bergeson said he hopes the second half turned on some light bulbs over the heads of some of his players.

“After our halftime talk, we were more of a team,” Bergeson said. “When they try to pass, things are great. I thought once they did that in the second half that was all the difference. Guys looked to share the ball.”

Bergeson said the team will continue to build its passing attack at practice, but admits it’s the heart of his players that will determine the outcome of the season.

“We just need to continue to build our sense of team,” he said. “You have to trust the guys that you’re playing with and be willing to go through the ups and downs together.”

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