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GIRLS SOCCER | Pelogi bounces Wolves out of playoffs
UNIVERSITY PLACE — South Kitsap’s Julie Cain has coached several high-caliber players in college and with the Wolves.
But after Thursday’s 2-0 season-ending loss against Federal Way in the West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament at Curtis High School, she found herself marveling at Eagles’ junior forward/midfielder Gabriela Pelogi.
“She got behind us twice,” Cain said. “One of the best players I’ve ever seen at this level. She was phenomenal.”
Pelogi scored in the 23rd minute and again in the 50th on an assist from sophomore midfielder/forward Samantha Cheever as the Eagles (12-3-2) advance to a winner-to-state, loser-out match Saturday at Art Crate Stadium.
“She was hard to stop,” Cain said. “There is nothing [junior goalkeeper Elisa Randel] could have done.”
Cain, who was an assistant coach for Seattle Pacific University’s women’s soccer program before becoming coach in 2009 at South, did not stop there about Pelogi.
“She’s fast — really fast,” she said. “She’s strong. She’s smart. Just a very high-level player.”
Despite that, Cain noted that the Wolves outshot the Eagles 8-4 during the second half.
“We didn’t put it in the back of the net,” she said. “We had a few chances at it, but it just didn’t fall.”
The best might have come in the 70th when sophomore midfielder Ari de la Cruz’s shot was about a foot wide left of the goal.
It was among several missed opportunities late in the season for South, which lost three of its final four matches to finish with an 8-6-3 record.
“I don’t think we finished as well as we could’ve,” Cain said. “A week before the end of the season we were in line for first place, lost two games and put ourselves on a pretty hard road.”
The Wolves needed two victories at districts to advance to state for the first time since 2011. That also marked the last time they won at districts.
“We’ve been to the playoffs every year,” Cain said. “This is the toughest first game we’ve had. You hope to meet a team like this a little deeper.”
West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament
At Curtis High School
Federal Way 2, South Kitsap 0
First half-1, Federal Way, Gabriela Pelogi, 23rd minute.
Second half-2, Federal Way, Pelogi (Samantha Cheever), 50th.