Wolves advance with 4-3 comeback victory

Faced with the very real possibility of seeing the season come to a quick and decisive end Saturday, South Kitsap coach Eric Bergeson was interested in seeing just how his team would respond.

Down 2-0 just 18 minutes into their West Central/Southwest District Tournament match to Tahoma and seemingly on the verge of falling well short of their goals, the Wolves not only showed their mettle but proved they have the heart to win by storming back to take a 4-3 win and advance to their third straight Class 4A state tournament.

South played Kamiak late Tuesday night in the first round in Everett. A win would send South to the quarterfinals for the second time in three years at either Mountain View or Eastlake.

A loss would bring the season to an end.

(Details of Tuesday’s game can be found on the Independent’s Web site at

After getting blown out 5-1 a week earlier in the Narrows League title game by Bellarmine Prep, the last thing South wanted was to fall behind.

But just five minutes into the game, the Wolves were down 1-0 and would soon see that deficit grow to 2-0.

At that point, the Wolves turned up the pressure and started playing with a sense of urgency.

“It’s the only thing you can do, really,” said junior midfielder Kyle Schoales. “When you’re down 2-0 that early, you really have nothing to lose. You just push and push and hope to get something and we did.”

Throughout much of the first half, Bergeson asked his team to remain calm and told them one goal would put them right back in the game.

His team responded with a pair of goals to tie the contest at halftime. After falling behind yet again, South scored twice in a six-minute period to secure the win.

“It was a game of perseverance,” Bergeson said. “We outlasted them. It was a brilliant game by everybody that played long shifts or short shifts.”

Senior forward Dan Nelson, who has seen limited playing time because of an injury, scored twice for South, both goals tying up the score. Junior Travis Gutierrez put the game winner in with 14 minutes left to play.

“All I was thinking abaout was trying to put it on frame and make something happen,” Gutierrez said. “It just happened to go in.

“It’s tough, once you get down two goals. A lot of teams will just put their heads down and they start quitting,” Gutierrez said. “But we didn’t – we kept fighting and we over came a lot of adversity.”

Bergeson said he was impressed with the way goalie Tony Saddler played despite allowing two early goals. The senior made some key saves throughout the game that allowed his team to get back into the contest and then saved a few at the very end when the Bears mounted their last charge.

“We never gave up,” Schoales said. “We have so much heart on this team it’s overwhelming – it’s great.”

While the win was nice and making a third consecutive trip to state is even better, the Wolves do have to address some holes in the defense.

After allowing 11 goals in their first 15 games, South has given up eight in its last two.

“We’ll have to tighten things up defensively,” Bergeson said. “(I’m not satisfied when we give up) three goals and play from behind most of the game. But then, my standards are high.”

Bergeson explained that to his guys earlier this year after running the team hard in practice after a game where the Wolves had an unusually high number of turnovers.

“I’m not coming down to meet them,” Bergeson said. “Even if it seems unrealistic, there’s something noble and true about setting the impossible goal and pouring out your heart to reach it. I’m not going to lower the standards; I’m just going to understand if we fall a little bit short.”

West Central/Southwest District Tournament

South Kitsap 4, Tahoma 3

Played May 13 at Mount Tahoma

First half — 1, T, Juan Salas, 5th minute; 2, T, Bryden Barbee, 18th; 3,

SK, Cade Mossman (Travis Gutierrez), 24th; 4, SK, Daniel Nelson (Tim

Grey), 37th.

Second half — 5, Tommy Sullivan, 51st; 6, SK, Nelson (Alex May), 60th; 7,

SK, Gutierrez, 66th.

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