Tie good enough for Wolves

South Kitsap’s Sam Canfield had a score to settle Thursday night, and he and his teammates saved their best for last.

Needing a win against Shelton to wrap up second place in the Narrows League Bridge Division and an automatic berth in next week’s West Central District soccer tournament, the Wolves put forth their best effort of the year on senior night and got some great goaltending from Canfield to tie Shelton 0-0 and finish third in the division.

A loss would have dropped the Wolves, 8-5-2 overall and 8-4-2 in league play, into fourth place.

“It was one of my better games,” said Canfield, a senior. “The thing that really made me play good was (Cesar Cifuentes) was the first person to score on me all season. And after he scored on me, I told him he was never going to score on me again.”

The tie earned the Wolves winner-to-district, loser-out contest with Olympia today at 9:30 a.m. at Stadium High School in Tacoma. Olympia finished fourth in the Bay Division.

Cifuentes, who scored three goals in Shelton’s 4-2 win over South back on April 13, drew the attention of the whole South defense once again. But this time, he got just one solid look, which Canfield deflected.

“Even though they had great looks, I had just supreme confidence that we were not going to allow them to score,” South coach Eric Bergeson said. “I think our will was strong and everyone seemed to be on their toes. Sam was brilliant back there.

“I was so proud of Chris Lewis for shutting down such a prolific scorer like Cesar,” Bergeson said. “He did just an outstanding job.”

But it was Canfield, who didn’t play soccer last year, who kept the Wolves in position to win the game with save after save.

“That’s probably one of the better games we’ve played,” senior Francis Pyle said. “They beat us last time, so I’m really glad we got a tie and not a loss.

“Sam did a really great job in goal, and that helped us out a lot,” Pyle said. “He took a beating back there.”

And while Canfield, who played the entire game for just the second time this year, kept the Highclimbers and Cifuentes off the board, his offense got plenty of good looks of its own but couldn’t get one to go in.

“We had a couple chances to score and we did take advantage of them, but we just couldn’t put them in,” senior Robbie Robinson said. “Their defense was playing pretty good.”

South, playing without Brandon Pratt and Konnar Kaio-Maddox, had control of the contest for the most part, excelling in all phases of the game.

“I think it’s the most intense we’ve played all year,” Bergeson said. “We got off some good shots with good velocity on them but they were all right at their keeper. If we could have just gotten one to go in early...

“We had some just spectacular saves by Sam,” Bergeson continued. “It was a memorable Senior Night for all of them. We played to win and took all the chances and had shot after shot.”

The Wolves have just hours to prepare for Olympia but no one seemed too worried about the timing of the game.

“We’re bringing it together and we’re more than ready for the playoffs,” Canfield said. “I’ve been dreaming of this for a while, and I’m ready to go out there and play hard and not let anything by me.”

“Obviously, they’re not done,” Bergeson said. “It’s a quick turnaround but I thought we looked pretty fresh by the end of the game. I think we’re fit ... now if we can just get healthy.”

Pratt could play today; he took a hit to his left side in Monday’s game against Bremerton while Kaio-Maddox had surgery on his hand Friday but could return if the Wolves get deep into the playoffs.

“I’m just really proud of all the seniors, I think they poured their hearts out there,” Bergeson said. “You know, win, lose or tie, as long as you do what we just did, you can be proud.”

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