Sports

SK earns spot in final four

South uses Ringer to advance to final four

Wolves qualify for first state semifinals in school history with 3-2 win

over Eastlake

By JEFF WILSON

Sports Editor

They fully expected to accomplish what they had just accomplished. But with their 2-0 lead completely gone, there was only one thing left to do.

Respond.

And Andrew Ringer did, scoring the second of his two goals with eight minutes remaining to lift the South Kitsap boys’ soccer team to 3-2 win over Eastlake and into this weekend’s Class 4A Final Four.

“I think this year, we expected this,” junior forward Travis Gutierrez said. “I mean, if we had lost this game, we would have thought our season ended short. We’re really excited and we expect to do well at the final four.”

The Wolves, 17-2-0, will make their first final four appearance in school history Friday night when they face Lake Stevens, 18-2-0, at 6 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.

The winner of that game will play for the state title Saturday against the winner of the Snohomish-Mead semifinal.

The two losers will face off at 2 p.m. Saturday to decide third and fourth place.

“This is pretty sweet for me. I’ve never even played in the state level like this before,” senior goalie Tony Saddler said. “It’s awesome. My heart was beating super fast throughout the whole game. I was nervous but I tried to not let the nerves get to me and just put up the win.”

In Eastlake, the Wolves were getting the country’s 18th-ranked team, but that didn’t seem to faze anyone on the South sideline.

South wasted little time in getting the advantage, scoring twice in the first 31 minutes on goals by Cade Mossman and Andrew Ringer.

Mossman put the Wolves on the board with a booming free kick after Eastlake goalie Robbie Marsh was slapped with a yellow card for un-sportsmanlike conduct.

Ringer made it 2-0 on a near-impossible goal along the Eastlake back line, somehow managing to curve the ball into the net.

“We were calm and cool and we didn’t really put a lot of pressure on ourselves,” Gutierrez said. “We have enough talent that we know we can go far, we can compete with anybody.”

But highly touted Eastlake came right back, answering Ringer’s goal just two minutes later. And when Eastlake tied the score with 12 minutes remaining, the Wolves seemed to be a little in shock.

But they quickly recovered and Ringer pushed his second goal across with eight minutes remaining in the game.

South then survived an offensive onslaught by Eastlake, including one ball that caromed off the right post and another ball that bounced around free just yards from the goal line but never went in.

“We came together real well in the second half,” Gutierrez said. “When we needed to, we really buckled down and got tight on defense. And Tony came up with some big saves.”

South coach Eric Bergeson said it was the way his team responded once the game was tied that made the difference in the outcome.

“If there’s one thing I can point too, it’s how they responded to (Eastlake’s) second goal,” Bergeson said. “Because they hung their hands for about five second and then right away we went down and got (the game

winner).

“Not only did we not pout or panic, we decided that we had a lot to be joyful for and we went out and ripped it up,” Bergeson said. “If there was one thing, it was how we answered their furious comeback.”

This is the first ever final four appearance by the South boy's soccer program. The Wolves had made the quarterfinals three times in the last eight years.

Class 4A soccer tournament

State quarterfinal

Played May 19 at Eastlake

South Kitsap 3, Eastlake 2

First half — 1, SK, Cade Mossman, 20th minute; 2, SK, Andrew Ringer, 31st;

3, E, Cash Elston (Andrew Lazarz) 33rd.

Second half — 4, E, Brian Kraft (Taylor Mueller) 68th; 5, SK, Ringer

(Travis Gutierrez) 72nd.

Class 4A State Tournament bracket

Semifinals - May 26 at Sumner HS:

Game 13: South Kitsap (18-2) vs Lake Stevens (18-2) 6 p.m.

Game 14: Snohomish (18-1) vs Mead (16-3) 8 p.m.

Finals - May 27 at Sumner HS:

Game 15: loser 13 vs loser 14 (3rd, 4th), 2 p.m.

Game 16: winner 13 vs winner 14 (Champion, 2nd) 8 p.m.

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