South Kitsap captures first girls soccer Narrows crown

It was the "circle the date" match for teams in the Narrows League Tournament for a decade.

The goal? Beat Bellarmine Prep.

Easier said than done — until now.

South Kitsap defeated the Lions for the second time this season, 2-0, Tuesday night in the league championship match at Mount Tahoma High School.

"Winning league was our main goal this season," said South junior Riley Dopps. "We've been waiting so long for this. I'm ecstatic."

The Wolves (12-0-3) previously won 2-0 on Sept. 29 at Bellarmine Prep (16-2-1). But it was the Lions' only league loss and they held onto the Narrows regular-season title after South tied Central Kitsap, Gig Harbor and Stadium.

"We know our potential and we know we're as good of a team as they are," Dopps said. "We wanted this game more than anything."

The Wolves were able to exploit Bellarmine Prep in ways that no one else in the league could. South was the only team that scored more than a goal against the Lions this season.

South coach Julie Cain said Bellarmine Prep pulled up its outside backs and "that's dangerous to us. Our big thing in the first half was to exploit behind the outside back."

"But really this game was about heart," Cain said. "This game was about winning first balls and second balls in the air — nothing bouncing on the ground. I think we did that teamwide."

That helped the Wolves capture their first league championship and claim the Narrows' No. 1 seed into the West Central District. South plays the 4A South Puget Sound League's No. 7 team at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Lincoln Bowl.

Dopps wasted little time giving the Wolves an early lead. She beat goalkeeper Autumn Golden in the second minute on a pass from freshman Becca Schoales.

"I think that's the fastest I've ever made it into the goal," Dopps said. "Brita (Oleson) tipped it and I thought it was going to throw me off, but it was perfect."

Bellarmine Prep nearly responded a minute later on a header by defender Kaitlyn Pavlovich, but her shot hit the right goalpost. South outshot the Lions 16-5.

The Wolves scored their second goal in the 26th when junior Brianna Waldron put a ball into the net on a corner kick.

Dopps said her team was inspired by South's boys team winning the first boys soccer state championship in Kitsap County last spring.

"That pumped us up a lot," she said. "We definitely feel the pressure to live up to the bar they set. We're willing to work to get there."

Cain agreed.

"If we play like this, I think we can win state," she said. "It takes a lot to get that kind of effort for 80 minutes from high-school girls every single game. But if we can do that, I think we can go all the way."

Narrows League Tournament championship (at Mount Tahoma High School)

South Kitsap 2, Bellarmine Prep 0

First half: 1, South Kitsap, Riley Dopps (Becca Schoales), 2nd minute; 2, South Kitsap, Brianna Waldron, 26th.

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