SK asserts its dominance

Defense was the name of the game Thursday night as the South Kitsap-Central Kitsap rivalry on the soccer field continues to grow in the wake of the Wolves’ 1-0 win at Silverdale Stadium.

“We knew coming in they were in the No. 2 spot and we were in the No. 3 spot,” SK coach Eric Bergeson said. “I don’t think the girls need any more motivation.”

The Wolves (3-1 league, 5-1 overall) were clearly the more agressive team in the early going against a CK (3-1, 5-1) team not known for having great first halves.

“We came out tenative. When you play South you’ve got to come with everything you’ve got and you have to be ready from the beginning,” CK coach Vicky Webb said. “We talked about that, but the girls were a little intimidated.”

The Wolves won the teams’ first meeting last season 3-0 and came from behind to tie 2-2 in the 2002 rematch.

South got on the scoreboard in the sixth minute when Lauren Gehring took a cross pass from Stephanie Solarek off a free kick for the only goal of the night past CK goalkeeper Emily Zygmontowicz. It was the first time this season the Cougars have allowed an opponent to score.

Bergeson said the deciding factor was all in who had control of the ball.

“I thought throughout the game, even though CK did make a nice push late in the second half, we were the more aggressive team,” he said. “And when you have two teams that are evenly matched it comes down to who wants the ball more. On the 50/50 balls — the ones where two people are running to it — we beat them on a lot of them.”

The aggressiveness didn’t hurt much even though the Wolves racked up twice as many fouls as their hosts.

“Whenever you have a keeper like that, you have to make her commit and not be selfish with the ball,” Bergeson said. “We knew we had to attack the flank, and when we did good things happened. It was the aggressiveness that won out.”

Once the Wolves had the ball, they knew it would be tough to score on Zygmontowicz. So they’ve been working on their passing skills to create scoring opportunities.

Each team had the same amount of shots at 15, but SK keeper Ricci Kranjcevich was the difference.

“Ricci was the most assertive she’s been all year, and that’s what we’ve been waiting to see back there,” Bergeson said. “She’s been a little passive, but you could see she was in command back there and brimming with confidence.”

And if Kranjcevich wasn’t getting to the ball, sweeper Karla Myles was.

“Karla saved us time and time again and was outstanding in being at the right place at the right time,” the SK coach said.

And a wall of defenders in front of the net didn’t hurt, either.

“I don’t think we tested their keeper at all,” Webb said. “We had opportunities, but they packed their middle after they got their goal. I’m disappointed to lose, but I’m happy with our effort.”

South Kitsap is off until Tuesday, when it hosts Olympic at 5:30 p.m.

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