Sports

BOYS SOCCER | South Kitsap settles for a tie — again

It is becoming a trend.

South Kitsap’s 1-all tie Wednesday night in a Class 4A Narrows League match against Central Kitsap marked its third stalemate in six matches.

That means the Wolves (1-1-3 overall, 1-0-2 league) already have their third most ties in a season during the last decade. Only the 2011-12 (four) and 2006-07 (five) teams have had more stalemates in a season during that span.

Just reaching that point was a challenge for South, though. The Wolves did not score against the Cougars (2-0-2, 1-0-2) until senior defender Ben Wilson found the net from about 30 yards out in the 62nd minute.

“He got a deflection and it was a goal,” South coach Cory Vartanian said. “The last couple of games it has kind of worked out that way for us.”

CK had no such issues as Steven Johnson won a one-on-one situation against senior goalkeeper Kyle Metzger just two minutes into the match.

“For whatever reason right now, we’re coming out the first 10 or 15 minutes of every first half and we’re kind of lethargic,” Vartanian said. “We need to break that. We need to get mentally prepared going into the game a little better.”

From that point, both teams had several scoring opportunities. The Wolves’ best chance during the first half might have come with about two minutes remaining when sophomore midfielder Ben Figueroa’s shot hit the crossbar.

“I believe that’s our fourth crossbar of this year,” Vartanian said. “The team says we have a curse right now.”

For his part, Vartanian is not buying into the superstition.

“We’ll continue to work on finishing,” he said.

After his team fell into another quick deficit, Vartanian said he and his assistants elected to move some players forward to challenge the Cougars.

“We switched our format up a little bit,” he said. “We tried to get more in the attack using our speed up front.”

But the result was the second straight 1-all stalemate after South had the same result during Monday’s nonleague match at Peninsula. While acknowledging that his youthful team still is learning, Vartanian said he wants to see more production.

“We firmly believe that we have an abundant amount of talent on this team,” he said. “It’s a matter of keeping individual play to a minimum and working together.”

One player who appears to be emerging is Metzger. After surrendering seven goals in his first two contests, he only has allowed two points in the Wolves’ last three contests. Metzger also made several saves against CK.

“Kyle’s definitely improving as the season goes on,” Vartanian said. “He’s had a bitter taste in his mouth the first couple of games and he’s started to redeem himself.”

The challenge for Metzger and his teammates does not figure to become any easier as South hosts Bellarmine Prep at 7 p.m. Friday. When the Wolves defeated the Lions 2-1 last year at Joe Knowles Field, it marked their first win against Bellarmine since 1987.

“Our schedule is … very demanding,” Vartanian said. “We’ll get through it.”

At South Kitsap 1, Central Kitsap 1

First half-1, Central Kitsap, Steven Johnson, second minute.

Second half-2, South Kitsap, Ben Wilson, 62nd.

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