Soccer: South Kitsap earns fourth straight win

The transition to coach James Ritchie seems to be moving quickly.

South Kitsap won its fourth consecutive match with a 4-0 win Tuesday night against Mount Tahoma in Narrows League play.

The Wolves (4-1-0 overall, 3-0-0 league) wasted little time in taking the lead as junior midfielder Diego Aceves-de la Cruz scored on an overhead kick in the second minute.

“He’s fantastic,” Ritchie said. “An absolutely stunning goal.”

Senior Austin Arper then followed with goals in the 20th and 30th minutes to give South a 3-0 lead at halftime. Ritchie’s team has scored 25 goals since it was shutout, 1-0, in the March 15 season opener at North Kitsap. The Wolves had 29 shots against the Thunderbirds (1-4-0, 1-3-0).

“They’re starting to move the ball better,” Ritchie said. “They’re figuring out where each other is and playing to their strengths.”

Five shots hit one of the goalposts for South.

“I would rather that happens than when it is (0-0),” Ritchie said, laughing.

He shouted instructors to his players throughout the match, but Ritchie said that is not because they do not understand his system.

“That’s just my style,” Ritchie said. “It took them awhile to understand what I’m saying, but I think they’re getting it now.”

Ritchie substituted liberally in the second half as the Wolves controlled most of the match. Mount Tahoma had one shot on goal, but it was saved to preserve the shutout for goalkeepers Nick Henry and Quintin Harris. South has not allowed more than one goal in any match this year, and Ritchie likes the job-share situation.

“Both boys have had a solid start to the season,” said Ritchie, who is in his first season with the program. “As long as they both keep playing well, I don’t see any reason to change it.”

Senior defender Gavin Klein scored the Wolves’ final goal in the 71st.

After its match Thursday against Central Kitsap, South hosts Robert Service in a nonleague contest Saturday. The Wolves then go on hiatus for spring break before returning April 13 at Lincoln.

At South Kitsap 4, Mount Tahoma 0

First half: 1, South Kitsap, Diego Aceves-de la Cruz, 2nd minute; 2, South Kitsap, Austin Arper, 20th; 3, South Kitsap, Arper, 30th.

Second half: 4, South Kitsap, Gavin Klein, 71st.

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