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SK experiments while remaining undefeated
A Narrows League girls soccer championship might prove elusive for South Kitsap even though it is undefeated.
The Wolves defeated Wilson 6-0 in Narrows League play Tuesday night at Joe Knowles Field, but now need Bellarmine Prep to lose or tie in one of its final three matches for a shot at the league title.
South (8-0-2 overall, 6-0-2 league) put itself in that position when it tied Gig Harbor, 0-0, on Oct. 8. The Wolves also tied 1-1 at Central Kitsap on Oct. 1. That was two days after they beat Bellarmine for a second consecutive year to finish a perfect September.
If both South and the Lions (11-1-1, 6-1-0) do not lose or tie the rest of the regular season, Bellarmine would win the Narrows by one point. The Lions, who defeated Olympia 3-0 on Tuesday, do not face another team in the top half of the league.
While coach Julie Cain maintains that a league championship remains the goal for her team, playoff preparation was the focus against Wilson (4-6-2, 2-5-1).
"Our goal was to kind of put them away in the first 20 minutes," Cain said. "I think we did that."
The Wolves accomplished that by getting a early 2-0 lead. Freshman midfielder Sarah Stoner scored on an assist from senior forward Jami Cantrell in the seventh minute. Junior defender Riley Dopps then added a goal in the 14th.
That allowed Cain to experiment with a new system in the second half that she said would be geared toward the playoffs.
"It's a more aggressive system," she said. "We put Riley Dopps up top and I think she was a huge difference maker."
Cain shifted some of her faster players up front in the system, including Cantrell, Dopps, junior Emily Gulas and substituted in freshman Britta Oleson. She said the team did not experiment with the different setup, but will work on it more in practice this week.
"If we get down in state, we have a more aggressive system to go to," Cain said. "It opens up the field up there."
After Oleson scored on an assist from Dopps in the 37th, South added three more goals in the second half. Senior Miranda Ness scored in the 51st, followed by Cantrell (56th) and Oleson (60th).
Cain said some of that scoring was the result of midfielders Dana Goularte (ankle) and Stacy Smith (concussion) returning.
"They're both really strong in the air," Cain said. "They distribute balls really well and for a lot longer. That's been a little bit of a hole in our lineup. It's nice to have them back."
But it was not just about the offense. Rams forward Angela Celedon was putting pressure on the defense before Cain moved senior Brianna Waldron to face her after halftime.
"I thought Brianna Waldron shut her down completely in the second half," Cain said. "She played a fantastic game to shut her down."
South hosts Shelton in its home regular-season finale at 7 p.m. Tuesday and then plays Thursday at Stadium. Narrows League playoffs begin the following week.
"We're improving every game," Cain said. "I think we're still going to peak at the right time."
At South Kitsap 6, Wilson 0
First half: 1, South Kitsap, Sarah Stoner (Jami Cantrell), 7th minute; 2, South Kitsap, Riley Dopps, 14th; 3, South Kitsap, Britta Oleson (Dopps), 37th.
Second half: 4, South Kitsap, Miranda Ness (Stacy Smith and Emily Gulas), 51st; 5, South Kitsap, Cantrell, 56th; 6, South Kitsap, Oleson (Stoner and Dopps), 60th.