Sports

Triumphant SK puts three on all-county starting squad

Senior Nico de la Cruz joins teammates Justin More and Daniel Lathrop as All-Kitsap first team selections. - Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo
Senior Nico de la Cruz joins teammates Justin More and Daniel Lathrop as All-Kitsap first team selections.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

It was a benchmark year to only for South Kitsap, but for boys soccer in Kitsap County high schools.

After all, the Wolves captured the first state boys soccer championship in county history with a 2-1 win May 30 against Pasco.

That performance, coupled with the team’s 15-3-1 record, helped South land forward Justin Moore, midfielder Nico de la Cruz, goalkeeper Daniel Lathrop and coach Michael Krug on the 2009 All-Kitsap County Soccer Team as voted on by the sports editors of the Kitsap News Group. Three Wolves also were named honorable mentions.

2009 All-Kitsap County Soccer Team

F — Justin Moore, senior, South Kitsap: Perhaps the quickest player in the area, Moore was named to the all-area first team for a second consecutive year. He scored 13 goals and added three assists through the Narrows League playoffs to help the Wolves to their first state soccer championship. The Western Washington University-bound Moore scored 12 goals in 2008.

“When I got Justin when he was 13 or 14 years old, he had the touch of a mule,” said South Kitsap coach Michael Krug, who also guided Moore’s Westsound FC ’90 club team. “He just continued to evolve his game and it’s worked really nicely for him.”

F — Matt Olson, junior, Bremerton: Olson, who was sidelined with an injury for much of 2008, broke out in a big way during the 2009 season to lead the Knights to the postseason for the first time since 1991. The versatile forward led his team — and the entire area — in goals and assists with 23 and 11, respectively, for 57 total points. Second-year coach Randy Lund, who saw his team upend Yelm 4-0 in a district play-in match before losing in the first round to Franklin Pierce, 5-1, said Olson has “a nose for the goal.”

F - Jon Kidder, senior, North Kitsap: Kidder was the Vikings’ biggest weapon up front, scoring 13 goals and assisting on three during the regular season to help his squad to its first state-playoff appearance in two decades.

F — Kenji Queva, senior, Bainbridge: The Spartans’ leading scorer, Queva used his size and strength to overpower defenders en route to the net. He helped the Spartans to a second-place regular-season finish in the Metro League’s Mountain Division (6-1-3 league, 11-5-5 overall). Coach George Vukic, who couldn’t provide complete season stats, called Queva a “deadly finisher who just has a lot of mental character.”

MF — Adam Cronin, senior, Central Kitsap: Christopher Floro raves about Cronin — and for good reason. The captain led the Cougars with 11 goals, adding four assists, and saw time at nearly every position on the field. Floro coined Cronin as “a fearless leader,” calling him “great in the air with good vision.”

MF — Nico de la Cruz, junior, South Kitsap: When he wasn’t scoring, de la Cruz often found himself setting up forwards Moore and Brent Ricigliano. The latter two combined for 22 goals through the Narrows League playoffs, while de la Cruz had seven goals and four assists.

“Nico’s very technically and tactically sound,” Krug said. “He has a great handle on the game.”

MF — Jim Baggett, junior, Bainbridge: Vukic called Baggett the “backbone of our midfield and a winner of the ball.” What he lacked in size and strength, Baggett made up for with what Vukic called a “remarkable leaping ability.”

D - Simon Kidder, senior, North Kitsap: The defensive half of the Kidder family threat, Simon was a strong deterrent to every opposing player who came to his side of the field, earning the Olympic League Most Valuable Player award. Craig Smith, coach of Kidder’s rival, Kingston, noted the senior’s defensive prowess. “Simon Kidder is an all-leaguer,” Smith said.

D — Pat Triggs, senior, Central Kitsap: The Cougars turned heads with a surprising run to the Class 4A state tournament. Triggs played a vital role in that run by communicating with goalkeeper Grant Rico, who allowed just nine goals over the team’s final 10 games. Floro called Triggs “really, really smart,” saying he was calm under pressure and read the game extremely well.

D - Juan Ramirez, sophomore, Kingston: The Bucs have a backfield insurance policy in the form of Ramirez. The young defender was a tough obstacle all year and helped lead his team to the playoffs. “Juan Ramirez is one of the top players in the league, period,” Kingston coach Craig Smith said.

GK — Daniel Lathrop, senior, South Kitsap: Lathrop is versatile enough that former coach Eric Bergeson played him at forward occasionally during the 2008 season. He also showed his athleticism in the net as the Wolves won all three shootouts during the state playoffs. During the regular season, he allowed more than one goal only once in a match and had six shutouts.

“Danny’s hands down one of the best keepers in the state,” Krug said. “He’s shown that time and again.”

Coach of the Year — Michael Krug, South Kitsap: Before this year, none of Kitsap County’s high schools had won a state championship in boys soccer. When Krug was persuaded by several of his Westsound FC ’90 club soccer players to take the position, he told them that bringing the state title to Port Orchard was his goal. The Wolves accomplished that with a 2-1 win May 30 against undefeated Pasco, which was ranked second nationally in one poll, to capture the title. Krug, who also guided the Wolves’ girls soccer team to state for the first time since 2005 in the fall, became only the second coach at South to win a championship in his first season. Ty Stephens also accomplished that feat in boys basketball in 1950.

“He prepared us well,” said South senior forward Justin Moore, who also played for Krug’s club team. “Technically and physically, we worked on everything. We were prepared for what we had to do.”

Krug said he won’t coach either soccer program at South next year and will focus on his club soccer teams.

South Kitsap honorable mentions

Forward Brent Ricigliano, senior, South Kitsap: Ricigliano’s best performances came in the postseason, where he scored a goal in South Kitsap’s 2-1 win against Pasco in the state championship match. Through the Narrows League playoffs, he had nine goals and an assist.

Midfielder Jason Skolnik, senior, South Kitsap: Skolnik, who plans to play at Kirkland’s Northwest University next season, missed some time during the season with various injuries, but still managed a pair of goals and assists.

Defender Gavin Klein, junior, South Kitsap: Klein cleared out many scoring threats throughout the season and helped the Wolves maintain field position in the opponents half of the field in most matches.

Additional honorable mentions

Spencer Black, North Kitsap; Drew Blaisdell, Central Kitsap; Thomas Bryan, Olympic; Paul Brumm, Olympic; Ashe Carlson, North Kitsap; Eli Chastein, Bremerton; Matt Hust, Kingston; Chase Ichiki, Central Kitsap; Matt Kunish, Central Kitsap; Jeff La Grandeur, Olympic; Andy Lee, King’s West; Nate May, North Kitsap; John McLaughlin, Klahowya; Spencer Meile, Kingston; Miles Nilsen, Central Kitsap; Peter Peterson, Bainbridge; Chance Pruiett, Kingston; Grant Rico, Central Kitsap; Nick Riders, Bremerton; Kyle Scoble, Bainbridge; Niles Stirrett, Central Kitsap; Nick Tedford, North Kitsap; Anthony Toombes, Bremerton; Ben Van Drunen, Bainbridge; and Charley Van Reis-Iglesias, Bainbridge.

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