Girls soccer: Cantrell, Schoales guide South Kitsap to state win

South Kitsap’s Brita Oleson works her way around a pair of Kamiak defenders during the Wolves playoff win in Silverdale on Tuesday night. - Kenny Gatlin photo
South Kitsap’s Brita Oleson works her way around a pair of Kamiak defenders during the Wolves playoff win in Silverdale on Tuesday night.
— image credit: Kenny Gatlin photo

A lead is not always good enough.

South Kitsap's girls soccer team learned that in the Class 4A state playoffs a year ago.

It was a lesson senior forward Jami Cantrell remembers well. And she did her best to make sure there would not be a repeat this year as the Wolves claimed a 2-0 win Tuesday in the first round of the state tournament against Kamiak at Silverdale Stadium.

Cantrell took a cross from from senior midfielder Kelsey Stoner and kicked into the left side of the net in the 33rd minute to give the Wolves a 1-0 lead. Both reserves entered the contest together about five minutes before the goal.

"It was just coming toward me and I was like, 'Oh my gosh, I have to make this; it's all on me.' " she said. "I actually thought I was going to miss it. It was great."

While Cantrell did not consider the Knights (12-6-2) much of a threat, she said their defensive system — with as many as eight players on that side of the field — made it difficult to score.

"There was a lot of defenders back," she said. "That's probably why it was so much harder to score."

South coach Julie Cain, whose team outshot Kamiak 8-2, felt her team had some scoring opportunities despite the Knights' defensive setup.

"We were pounding on the net," she said. "We just couldn't get anything in the goal."

The Wolves, who advance to the state quarterfinals for the fourth time in school history at 3 p.m. Saturday against Kentwood at Mount Tahoma High School, did not want to count on a single goal to win. Last year, South had a 2-1 lead at halftime against Woodinville, but lost 4-2.

Freshman forward Becca Scholaes ensured that would not be a concern when her kick in the 66th from 18 yards out deflected off the goalkeeper's fingertips and into the net.

"It was way more reassuring," Cantrell said. "With a 1-0 lead, you never know what can happen."

Before its 1-0 overtime win Saturday against Auburn Riverside, South beat Bellarmine Prep 2-0 on Nov. 3 to win the Narrows League Tournament title. It was the first time in a decade that a team other than the Lions earned that distinction, but Cain felt her team played better against Kamiak.

"What I love about this game was the girls came out relaxed," said Cain, citing Stoner and junior midfielder Stacy Smith efforts for helping the team stay focused on the field. "When we played Bellarmine, we had jitters and we were banging the ball hard. This game, the girls were confident."

The result, in Cain's view, was a dominant effort by her team. She said the Wolves are buoyed by the ability to play 16 or 17 players, which keeps her team fresh.

And Cain hopes the result is a state championship.

"If we come out like this, I think we can go all the way," she said. "We have the talent."

Class 4A girls soccer state playoffs

First round at Silverdale Stadium

South Kitsap 2, Kamiak 0

First half: 1, South Kitsap, Jami Cantrell (Kelsey Stoner), 33rd minute.

Second half: 2, South Kitsap, Becca Schoales (Brita Oleson), 66th.

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