SK shuts down Vikings, 1-0

North and South Kitsap were both short some of their top scorers Thursday night, so it was no surprise the game’s highlights came mostly at the defensive end.

North was without leading scorer Megan Hyte, and South Kitsap lacked three starters, two of whom — Cassie Brown and Randee Robinson — were at a national showcase tournament in Washington D.C.

The Wolves’ Nicole Bussman’s goal in the fourth minute stood to give South a 1-0 win.

Some of the plays most spectacular plays came from defenders. The earliest came in the 33rd minute, when NK defender Lucie Paciotti charged toward the Vikings’ net and swept a SK header away from the goal like someone booting a mouse out of a kitchen.

The shot was a header by the Wolves’ Lauren Gehring.

The Wolves proved equally adept in the 67th minute when one of North’s few one-on-one opportunities was spoiled by SK goalie Ricci Kranjcevich.

Kranjcevich dove to her left and made a fingertip stop of a shot by Amber Grable, who had broken briefly from the pack to make a stop.

“That was a magical moment,” South coach Eric Bergeson said after the game.

North Kitsap goalkeeper Kamryn Morgan provided a fine moment of her own seconds after Kranjevich’s save when she rushed out of goal and scooped up a ball a few steps before forward Bussman could reach it.

The Wolves (7-1 in league, 9-1 overall) produced their fifth straight shutout.

Bergeson said South played too tentative after Bussman’s goal, which came when she lost a defender on the North Kitsap endline, then ricocheted a shot off the left post and in.

“I thought we did more attacking in the second,” he said.

The Wolves took 10 shots on goal in the second half, as opposed to six in the first.

North Kitsap (4-3, 5-4-1) played outstanding, head coach Teri Ishihara said — but misses its big gun.

“We miss Megan. We need a finisher,” Ishihara said.

Hyte has missed several games due to a slight MCL tear in her right knee.

She traveled to the same showcase tournament that Robinson and Brown did and will try to return for NK afterwards.

She was North Kitsap’s leading scorer last season as a sophomore.

NOTES: Bergesen received a yellow card in the game’s second half while protesting the physical play allowed by the referees ... Kranjcevich played the entire game for the Wolves, while North used a pair of goalies, Morgan and Laurel Patton ... The 1-0 loss was the second in two games for the Vikings, who also lost to Gig Harbor in Tuesday’s road game.

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