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Shootout propels Wolves to state
There isn't an overtime system for boys soccer in the Narrows League.
But the Wolves were well prepared for their first shootout in the West Central District Tournament.
South Kitsap was perfect in all four attempts, while Todd Beamer converted just 2 of 4 shots against goalkeeper Daniel Lathrop to help the Wolves to a 2-1 win Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School.
"It's a simple math equation," said South coach Michael Krug, referring to strategy in penalty-kick situations. "We worked on it and showed them a couple of things. There's certain things you can do and you'll statistically increase your odds of success."
South (11-3-1) advances to state for the first time since 2006, where it will be the district's No. 6 seed, while the Titans (12-4-2) were eliminated with the loss. The state tournament begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday against Roosevelt (8-5-3) at Seattle's Memorial Stadium.
It looked like the match might go the same way as last year, when Todd Beamer won 2-1 to end the Wolves' season. Midfielder/forward Michael Manolides scored in the 12th minute on an assist from Dan Tran, and South couldn't find the net despite several opportunities against goalkeeper Ben Draeger.
One came in the 72nd when forward Justin Moore felt he was fouled inside the box. But Moore wasn't awarded a penalty kick and he feared the Wolves might not get another opportunity.
"It didn't cost us," Krug said, laughing. "I'll take that penalty kick next week. I'll take it when we need it."
Moore was more concerned with the position of the contest than the non-call.
"It got down pretty late," he said. "I got pretty worried there and just had to refocus."
Moore was able to break away from defenders again four minutes later, though. He found himself in a one-on-one situation with Draeger and beat him to tie the match, 1-all.
"I feel like I've been in a slump myself," Moore said. "It feels good to get out of that."
The Titans were able to get another shot on goal in the 78th, but the ball was deflected off the foot of a South player.
Moore also had shots in the 83rd and a header with one minute left in the second five-minute overtime, but both went just right of the goal.
At that point, it was up to Lathrop. Midfielder Troy Peterson converted the first goal in the shootout and Moore responded. But Todd Beamer sophomore Ugo Okoli, who scored a goal and had the assist on the other in last year's district match, missed wide right. Jesse Askew and Dixon Hammer both converted for the Wolves, sandwiched by a successful shot by the Titans' Austin Sweeney.
"Penalty kicks probably are the hardest thing to do as a keeper," Lathrop said. "You just hope to read them right."
But Lathrop then saved a shot by Keaton House. Brent Ricigliano followed with a successful kick to end the shootout.
"When we go any further into state, we're going to be dealing with adversity every game and we're going to have to be able to overcome it," Krug said. "It's really nice to see the boys work it out."
He is just the second coach at South to guide both the boys and girls soccer programs at South to state during a school year. Eric Bergeson accomplished that feat three times.
It's the eighth state appearance for the Wolves, who played for the state championship in 2006 and lost 5-1 against Snohomish.
"Just getting there isn't good enough for us," Krug said. "We're going to keep working hard and bring some jewelry back to town. That's our goal."
West Central District Tournament
South Kitsap 2, Todd Beamer 1 (shootout)
First half-1, Todd Beamer, Michael Manolides (Keaton House), 12th minute.
Second half-2, South Kitsap, Justin Moore (Diego Aceves-de la Cruz), 76th.