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Wolves get wakeup call
For South Kitsap soccer coach Eric Bergeson, Saturdays Narrows League title game must have seemed like a severe case of deja vu all over again.
With his South Kitsap boys soccer team on an eight-game win streak and poised to claim the league title with a win over Bellarmine Prep at Mount Tahoma, things quickly went, well, south for the Wolves, and 80 minutes later, the Lions had wrapped up their fifth-straight Narrows crown with an impressive 5-1 win.
The loss sends South, 14-2-0, into the West Central/Southwest District Tournament as the Narrows No. 2 seed, where it will meet the South Puget Sound Leagues sixth seed, which will be determined tonight, at 2 p.m. today back at Mount Tahoma.
The loss also leaves the entire team reeling after giving up five goals in one game. In its first 15 games, the Wolves had allowed just 11 balls into the net.
They have to show they deserve to play in these types of games, that they belong with the upper-echelon teams, Bergeson said. We didnt prove that today.
Just five months ago, Bergeson watched his girls soccer team react almost the exact same way in the exact same position. Needing to beat Bellarmine for the league title, South fell 6-1 on the same field.
The girls rebounded to beat Todd Beamer a week later to qualify for the state tournament before losing in the first round, 2-1, to Jackson.
And now, the boys face the same scenario. A win Saturday sends them to their third straight state trip.
I told them nothing would eclipse a 5-1 shelling like this like a win to get back to the state tournament, Bergeson said.
Unlike the girls loss, South came out and got the advantage early, getting a goal from Nolan Kalkwarf just 12 minutes into the contest. A missed opportunity a few moments later cost South a 2-0 lead that could have stood, but instead, Bellarmine scored on a penalty kick after getting a controversial call in the South goal box.
The killer came right before the half, when Bellamine scored with under a minute left to take a 2-1 halftime lead. The Lions put three shots passed Tony Saddler in the second half to ensure the win.
That gives the team plenty to work on in the coming week to get ready for the winner-to-state, loser-out game today.
I can point to three or four crucial mistakes I made as a coach that hurt us, Bergeson said. I need to start with myself and determine what better decisions Im going to make next time we play.
Ill need to use this as a teaching tool for the guys and we have a week to grow up, Bergeson said. We have a week to see if we belong with a team like this.
The up-side of all of this is that South lives to play again and has a week to get Ryan Muyskens and Dan Nelson back on the field. Both missed the game with injuries, while senior Tim Grey gets time to recover from a bone bruise he suffered in the first half.
Narrows League Championship Game
Played May 6 at Mount Tahoma
Bellarmine Prep 5, South Kitsap 1
First half 1, SK Nolan Kalkwarf (Tim Grey), 12th. 2, BP, Daniel Grey (PK), 15th. 3, BP, Zach Semango (Chase Tangey), 39th.
Second half 4, BP, Kellan Brown, 57th. 5, Zach Semango, 61th. 6, BP, Matt Semango, 79th.