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Another shot at Snohomish
He wasn't even in high school when the teams last met on the pitch, but it doesn't take much to elicit emotion from Kaleb Craig when he thinks about Snohomish.
The South Kitsap senior was one of a select few freshmen who had an opportunity to play for the boys state soccer championship in a 5-1 loss May 27, 2006 against the Panthers.
While it would be a stretch to call it a rematch when the programs meet again Saturday in the state quarterfinals, it is particularly meaningful to Craig.
"It's a good opportunity to get back something we let get away from us," said Craig, whose team won 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday night against Roosevelt in the first round of the state playoffs at Seattle's Memorial Stadium. "I'm just excited to get something that was kind of taken away from me."
Snohomish (15-4-1) placed second in the Wesco North, but isn't as strong as it was in 2006 when it was ranked as the No. 1 in the country by one poll. Glacier Peak, which opened in the fall, inherited some of the Panthers' players.
The scenario isn't quite the same for the Wolves, either. Eric Bergeson, who guided the program to five state appearances in 11 seasons, resigned last year and was replaced by Michael Krug.
And instead of a neutral venue — the match three years ago was played at Sumner's Sunset Chev Stadium — it will be a home contest for Snohomish. The game time hasn't been determined.
In addition to the shootout, South (12-3-1) had to overcome a 65-minute delay after thunder halted the match with the teams tied, 2-all, and 29 minutes, 15 seconds remaining in the contest.
"It gave us 20 or 30 minutes to refocus," Krug said. "We weren't going to lose this game."
He said he made some adjustments on the defensive side that he felt limited the Roughriders' offense. Krug stopped short of calling the delay beneficial, though.
"Only because we won," he said.
Krug noted that his team has struggled to maintain leads at times this season and that played out again. The Wolves scored first in the 32nd minute when Nico de la Cruz scored on an assist from Justin Moore.
But Roosevelt (8-6-3), which plays in KingCo 4A, responded just five minutes later when Tolga Dilek took a pass from Lucas Zapico and beat goalkeeper Daniel Lathrop in a one-on-one situation.
South regained the lead, 2-1, in the 47th when Brent Ricigliano found his way past the Roughriders' defense to beat goalkeeper Leo Cohen. But Roosevelt tied it again a minute later when Dilek scored again on an assist from Travis Mealand.
"The opposition's character was incredible," Krug said. "Every time we got a goal ... they worked twice as hard to get one back. I was really impressed."
After neither team scored during two five-minute overtime periods, South was forced into a shootout for a second consecutive match.
The Wolves immediately had an advantage when Moore converted his kick and Lathrop blocked an attempt by Mealand. But it was even after the second kick when Cohen saved a shot from Jesse Askew, while Dan Tonkovich converted. South's Dixon Hammer and Brent Ricigliano made the following two attempts and were matched by the Roughriders' Stephen U and Dilek. It finally was settled when de la Cruz made his shot high into the net, while Roosevelt's Ryan Shepherd hit the goal post.
"Danny made a nice save," Krug said. "And the post made a nice save."
Perhaps his greatest concern now isn't the prospect of another shootout, but being without de la Cruz against Snohomish. The junior midfielder will play in a club tournament that day in Florida. Krug hopes senior Jason Skolnik, who has battled injury problems, will be ready to play against the Panthers.
"That will hurt," Krug said. "It's a big loss."
First round at Memorial Stadium
South Kitsap 3, Roosevelt 2 (shootout)
First half-1, South Kitsap, Nico de la Cruz (Justin Moore), 32nd minute; 2, Roosevelt, Tolga Dilek (Lucas Zapico), 37th.
Second half-3, South Kitsap, Brent Ricigliano, 47th; 4, Roosevelt, Dilek (Travis Mealand), 48th.
Roosevelt-Dan Tonkovich, Steven U, Dilek.
South Kitsap-Moore, Dixon Hammer, Ricigliano, de la Cruz.