SK stays alive with another shootout

Second chances don’t always come in life. Riley Dopps is grateful for her opportunity.

Dopps, a sophomore defender, was the final South Kitsap girls soccer player to kick against Auburn Riverside goalkeeper Gina Cardenas. The shot went toward the center of the goal and was blocked, which would have extended the shootout as both teams converted 4 of 5 attempts.

“It was just an off kick,” Dopps said. “I was freaking out and thought I cost us the game.”

Then came the reprieve.

The officials ruled that Cardenas illegally came off the line before the kick.

“I knew I had to put this in,” Dopps said. “It was my responsibility to the team.”

She did that with a shot that bounced off the inside of the left goalpost and into the net to give the Wolves a 1-0 win Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma.

South (12-4-1) earned the No. 6 seed out of the West Central District and advances to play Woodinville at 7 p.m. today at Bothell’s Pop Keeney Stadium in the Class 4A state tournament. It’s the school’s first state appearance since 2005. Coach Michael Krug hasn’t seen Woodinville (11-3-1) play.

“If we play our game, we can beat anyone,” he said. “I’m not worried about it.”

Senior forward Tori Fairweather is happy to advance to state in her final year, but said the team’s expectations go beyond that.

“We’ve never won a state championship, but that seriously has to be the greatest feeling in the world,” she said. “I think that’s the feeling we’re working toward.”

The Wolves still are four wins away from accomplishing that feat. Fairweather knows they will have by more consistent on offense if they want to advance in the tournament. Saturday was the second consecutive match that South won in a shootout after beating Stadium on Nov. 4.

“Finish is a big thing,” she said. “I think we need more bodies up in the offensive area. We can work it up, get it to the offensive side and then the finishing part.”

The Ravens (9-4-5), who finished second in the 4A South Puget Sound League North Division, had several opportunities in the first half but couldn’t convert against junior goalkeeper Holly Sieler. Cardenas was tested with 10 shots in the second half.

South’s last four matches have been decided by a goal. Krug said that’s not his preference, but he’ll take the wins. The Wolves’ only loss in that span was a 1-0 setback Nov. 1 in the league playoffs against Bellarmine Prep.

“When it gets to crunch time, the girls step it up,” Krug said. “I would like to be able to do it in regulation and for 90 minutes all the time, but it doesn’t always happen that way.”

Sieler blocked two shootout kicks in the win against Stadium. This time, she saved the third attempt in the shootout when Chase Lane’s kick went down the middle.

“She hit it toward me,” Sieler said. “I’m glad. This feels like Christmas.”

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