Wolves wrap up Bridge Division crown

With all the pieces now in place, the sky’s the limit for the South Kitsap boys’ soccer team.

After a pair of convincing wins this week against North Kitsap and Bremerton, the Wolves have wrapped up first place in the Narrows League Bridge Division and have now set their sights on doing all the things needed to ensure a long and successful playoff run.

“We were actually more modest than that. We just wanted to be in the top two spots,” South coach Eric Bergeson said of the Bridge title. “Of course, your goal is always to win the division, but we start with real achievable goals, and now it’s time to reassess and set loftier ones. And I think they already have done that in their minds without me having to say anything.”

After avenging their only loss Tuesday with a 5-2 victory over North Kitsap, South wrapped up the division crown with a 6-1 win at Bremerton.

Those wins moved the Wolves to 12-1 overall and 11-1 in league play and ensured the team a spot in next month’s West Central District Tournament. The Wolves close out the regular season with a Monday game at Olympic and Wednesday’s Senior Night contest at home with Shelton.

South is in line to face Bellarmine Prep, which should win the Bay Division, in a battle of top seeds that will decide the Narrows League title.

After that, anything can happen.

Which gives the Wolves plenty to work on this week in preparation for the playoff push.

Finding the open man is something Bergeson would like to see his talented and confident squad work on. Taking the ball and working it into the open area and then making a good pass to whoever is alone will be key in the coming weeks.

That might sound funny, since South has had little problem scoring goals this year. Entering Monday’s game with Olympic, the Wolves held a 63-11 scoring advantage over its opponents. But Bergeson, always the perfectionist, would like to see that number change during the playoffs.

Meaning, even more offense.

“I think we’ve capitalized on defensive mistakes more than we’ve set each other up with high, quality service,” Bergeson said. “We’ve never had an offensive output like that, and considering that it’s come from all different sources makes me doubly pleased.”

In South’s win over North, five different players scored a goal. In the win over Bremerton, six different players scored. That’s just what Bergeson is looking for.

“That’s distribution, that’s sharing the ball,” Bergeson said. “And when they don’t, they hear about it from (the coaches).”

While the offense has been pouring in goals, the defense has been doing its job as well. But despite allowing less than one goal a game this year, there is room for improvement.

“Perhaps most importantly, we need to stop giving teams opportunities to score that they don’t earn on their own,” Bergeson said. “We need to not put anyone but South Kitsap into a position to win the game.”

The addition of forward Tim Grey has helped the team immensely. After joining the team last week, his physical style and work ethic have paid off already, as have his goals and assists.

But his addition has only highlighted the play of fellow forwards Andrew Ringer, Dan Nelson and Nolan Kalkwarf. Each has had a hand in the Wolves’ scoring in the last three games. Especially Ringer, who has filled in nicely throughout the season where ever needed.  

“We didn’t have a forward without him, and we let him go in the past,” Bergeson said. “He came out and not only proved us wrong, but he put us on his back in a few key moments.”

With Ringer, Grey and Kalkwarf, the Wolves have a three-headed monster in a position that uses just two players.

Throw in Kyle Schoales and South has four quality forwards filling two slots, leaving the other two to roam around the field and fill in where needed.

That combination will be tough to deal with once the playoffs start.

And that, Bergeson will tell anyone, is precisely the point.

South Kitsap 6, Bremerton 1

Played April 26 at Bremerton

First half - 1, SK, Travis Gutierrez (Andrew Ringer), 22nd minute; 2, SK, Tim Grey (Kyle Schoales) 35th.

Second half - 3, SK, Nolan Kalkwarf (Cade Mossman) 50th; 4, SK, Jordan Thomas (Jason Skolnik), 61st; 5, SK, Tony Saddler, 73rd; 6, B, Noah Greenwald (PK), 76th; 7, SK, Quincy Lyman (Alex May), 77th.

South Kitsap 5, North Kitsap 2

Played April 25 at South Kitsap

First half — 1, SK, Nolan Kalkwarf (Cade Mossman), 8th; 2, SK, Dan Nelson (Alex May), 22nd; 3, Tim Grey (Kyle Schoales), 38th.

Second half — 4, SK, Andrew Ringer (Kalkwarf), 57th; 5, NK, Craig Gracey, 63rd; 6, SK, Ryan Muyskens (Travis Gutierrez), 70th; 7, NK, Steven Prevost (free kick), 76th.

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