Wolves settle for scoreless tie against Gig Harbor

It wasn’t a win but it’s not a loss, and South Kitsap soccer coach Eric Bergeson will take it.

At least this time.

“You always want to win, and I thought we clearly played to win,” Bergeson said of the 0-0 tie his team produced against Gig Harbor Friday night. “If you ask any coach around our division, any time you get positive points from your Gig Harbor matchup, you’re doing something most of the other teams aren’t doing.”

The Wolves got their point and remained in a tie with the Tides atop the Narrows League Bridge Division. South moved to 3-1-1 overall and 3-0-1 in league play.

The shutout was the fourth in a row for goalies Nick Boone and Sam Canfield, who continue to split time for the Wolves. The only goal the Wolves have allowed this year was an own-goal in a 1-0 loss to Mercer Island.

“Anytime you shut the Harbor out, anytime you keep them off the scoreboard, it’s something to be proud of,” Bergeson said. “I thought my goalies were very aggressive.”

Canfield started for South and took the brunt of the Tides’ scoring chances, which weren’t many due to the overall play of the Wolves’ defensive unit.

“We take tremendous pride in our defense,” Bergeson said. “They’re so determined not to let a single ball pass into that net. Everyone is helping everyone and they really seem to operate like one guy out there. These guys still haven’t allowed a goal, so the Disneyland dream is still alive.”

Boone played the second half, a half that saw the Wolves’ offense come alive.

“We were trying to attack more in the first half of the second half,” forward Robbie Robinson said. “The last 20 minutes, we were trying to play defense and keep it tied.”

A 0-0 tie seemed to be a real possibility due to the soggy field and constant rain that fell during the match. But that had no negative effect on either team, Robinson said.

“We play in this all the time,” Robinson said. “This was nothing compared to what (Bergeson’s) usually got us playing in.”

Standing water on the outer edges of the playing field limited a lot of down-field passing, but both teams worked the ball into the middle of the field and had decent chances to score.

“Sometimes you just have to put the ball in the area and be the hungrier team and will it into the net,” Bergeson said. “Don’t accept anything else, and I thought we did a pretty good job of at least getting in there and getting some shots and getting some looks, but (Gig Harbor) was solid defensively. They always are.”

Gig Harbor did take advantage of its height in the first half, winning the majority of battles for the ball.

“I thought we could have done a better job of fighting and winning some of those headers,” Bergeson said, “instead of letting them get the first touch and, often times, getting the second touch.

“So they were getting a free header to their guy who gets a free turn and all of a sudden they are into our defense third and we’ve got problems,” Bergeson said.

But even when someone broke through, the lanes were quickly shut down.

“I thought we closed down on those opportunities before they could develop,” Bergeson said. “You know Gig Harbor is going to get their looks, and I thought we competed well.”

Tyler Penn gave the Wolves their best chances at scoring, consistently chipping the ball in front of the Tides’ net from his midfielder position, setting up shots like Chris Lewis’ blast that sailed just over the net in the second half.

Bergeson also got solid games from Jimmy Hoettel and Brandon Pratt.

“I think we did OK, we just needed to pass the ball around more,” Robinson said. “This is the first time we’ve tied them since I’ve been here, so we had to have played pretty good, but I don’t feel like a tie can be more of a win than a loss.”

Bergeson echoed those thoughts.

“I want to beat the teams and the coaches that I have the highest regard for,” Bergeson said. “And we want to beat the teams that have traditionally gotten the better of us. These are the games we live for and you could see it before the game.

“At least we kept pace with them and we don’t have to see them for another month,” Bergeson said. “Bring on the next challenge.”

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