Opening with a bang

Sometimes a little improvisation will go a long way.

South Kitsap’s John VanGeelkerken headed in a sweet pass from Brandon Pratt in the 32nd minute Friday night to lead the Wolves to a 1-0 victory over Central Kitsap in a Narrows League Bridge Division soccer match.

“It’s a nice to start 2-0 in league. You love to get six points right out of the gate,” South coach Eric Bergeson said. “I thought the guys went out and earned it.”

The win moves the Wolves to 2-1 on the year and 2-0 in league play, while Central, fighting injuries from the start of the season, dropped to 0-1-2.

“Unfortunately, we started off the season getting two center-mids injured, and every game it seems like we’re getting another injury,” Central Coach Charles Frohman said. “I’ve had to make some changes, but even with that I thought we played a good game. We had a couple of chances.”

South took full advantage of its best scoring opportunity late in the first half when Pratt found VanGeel-kerken open in front of the Cougar goal.

“Basically in the first half, we just tried to put as much pressure on them as we could so we could get a chance to score,” Pratt said. “Finally someone set it up and it came off another head and it went in. I saw John running and I gave him a little nod and headed it to him.”

VanGeelkerken’s header sailed into the back of goal, netting him his first score of the year.

“I saw the cross coming across and I just cut to the inside and I knew Brandon was coming on and he called my name,” VanGeelkerken said. “I just ran to the middle and he put it right to my head. It was just a perfect cross.”

Even Frohman, who took over the Central program late last year, was impressed.

“That was a beautiful header that guy did,” Frohman said. “But South is always tough.

“We just have to get that connection between the forwards and the midfielders,” Frohman said. “Hopefully we’ll get better and we can come back in the second half a play some better games.”

Bergeson said he was very happy with the Wolves’ effort in overcoming a fluke, season-opening loss to Mercer Island.

“We always want to go in there and take a blue-collar approach,” Berge-son said. “We want to start with defense and build from there. We take a lot of pride in not allowing a lot of goals.”

And they have not allowed one in league play yet, putting up 160 scoreless minutes so far. The lone goal against the Wolves was an own goal in the Mercer game.

And the defense was just as stout Friday. Whenever Central got the ball in the center of the field, there were always two or three defenders instantly there.

“That was one of our main focuses, to really harass,” Bergeson said.

And the Wolves did just that, taking Central’s top scorer Keith Cain completely out of the game.

“I had to look around to sort of see where he was at time because I felt like we took him out of his game so much,” Bergeson said. “I never felt like they had any huge opportunities (to score).

“Our transition defense was outstanding,” he added. “I thought we did a great job of heading off many opportunities before they even got started.”

With the exception of a crossing shot early in the contest, the Cougars never really got off any solid shots on the Wolves’ goal.

Bergeson cited Konnar Kaio-Maddox, Chris Lewis, Jimmy Hoettel and Robbie Robinson along with both his keepers, Nick Boone and Sam Canfield, who split the halves in goal for the Wolves.

“I’d like to see us get a little more active on the scoring end of things,” Bergeson said. “But CK took a pretty defensive tack, too. I think they knew that we had some speed up front.”

Bergeson got just about his entire roster into the game, keeping his team rested for the finish.

“I felt like we still had the fresh legs at the end of the game,” Bergeson said. “That was partly getting great minutes from our bench.”

The Wolves were at Port Angeles late Tuesday and will play host to Gig Harbor at 5 p.m. Friday.

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