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Wolves rebound with late goals
Despite being the second-highest scoring team in the Narrows League, goals don't always come in abundance for South Kitsap.
That resulted in some anxious moments before the Wolves produced a pair in the last six minutes to secure a 3-0 win Tuesday night at Shelton.
"We've got to put them away," South coach Michael Krug said. "We're creating opportunities and putting ourselves in position to succeed."
The Wolves had 22 shots on goal, but only one goal most of the match. Senior Brent Ricigliano scored on an assist from Shelby Boyd in the 26th minute.
"Those are tough games to play," Krug said. "The back line gets complacent because they're watching the game in your attacking third the whole time and it becomes a transition game. The defender trips and you can get it behind him."
That nearly became an issue in the 45th when Shelton senior Edwin Asturias-Cifuentes broke away only to have his shot saved by diving goalkeeper Daniel Lathrop. It was one of two shots on goal for the Highclimbers (2-9-0 overall, 1-7-0 league).
"There were opportunities there, but we weren't capitalizing," South senior Jason Skolnik said. "We were pressing up there."
Skolnik also credited Shelton goalkeeper Chris Matson, who faced several one-on-one challenges, for the Wolves' struggles. That ended in the 74th when Skolnik found forward Justin Moore for a goal. Skolnik followed with a goal four minutes later.
"He was a big boy," he said. "He came off his line pretty strong."
Scoring wasn't an issue when South (8-1-1, 7-1-1) suffered its first loss, 4-3, Saturday against Bellarmine Prep. The Lions, who were third in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas national rankings, scored three goals in a four-minute span.
"We shut down for five minutes, turned around and had two goals scored on us," Skolnik said. "We have to play the entire game."
The game was tied, 1-all, at halftime after Bellarmine Prep's Ryan Rash scored in the fourth minute, while the Wolves' Nico de la Cruz followed eight minutes later on an assist from Moore.
South then took the lead when Moore scored on an assist from Ricigliano. But the Lions responded with goals from Rash (63rd), Alex Voght (64th) and Scott Hanson (67th) to take the lead for good. Ricigliano had the final goal of the match in the 70th.
Krug said the Wolves had too many defensive breakdowns in the back third of the field.
"I told them I thought set pieces cost us that game," he said. "We gave up two goals on set pieces and silly fouls in the mid-third."
Defense was an emphasis in practice as South prepared for its regular-season finale Thursday against Stadium.
"We worked this week on the techniques of defending again," Krug said. "I think we did a good job. It was a big improvement."
South Kitsap 3, at Shelton 0
First half-1, South Kitsap, Brent Ricigliano (Boyd Shelby), 26th minute.
Second half-2, South Kitsap, Justin Moore (Jason Skolnik), 74th; 3, South Kitsap, Skolnik, 78th.
Bellarmine Prep 4, at South Kitsap 3
First half-1, Bellarmine Prep, Ryan Rash, 4th minute; 2, South Kitsap, Nico de la Cruz (Justin Moore), 12th.
Second half-3, South Kitsap, Moore (Brent Ricigliano), 60th; 4, Bellarmine Prep, Rash, 63rd; 5, Bellarmine Prep, Alex Voght, 64th; 6, Bellarmine Prep, Scott Hanson, 67th; 7, South Kitsap, Ricigliano, 70th.