Soccer: Dominant win moves South Kitsap into second place

The league points total was equal entering the match.

But on the pitch, there were few similarities between South Kitsap and Wilson’s boys soccer teams.

The Wolves moved into sole possession of second place in the Narrows League with a 6-0 win Tuesday night against the Rams at Joe Knowles Field.

“I thought the boys were fantastic,” South coach James Ritchie said. “A lot comes from the smell of perspiration. They worked their backsides off and they got a result because of that.”

Four of those goals came in the first half as senior forward Austin Arper scored his team-high 13th goal of the year on a kick from the right corner.

“He spun from a tight angle and buried it in the back corner,” Ritchie said. “It was brilliant.”

South (7-1-2 overall, 6-0-1 league) added three goals in an eight-minute span beginning in the 26th when senior midfielder Nico de la Cruz scored on a free kick that found its way through an assembly line of Wilson defenders. Dallas Brewster then stole the ball and extended the Wolves’ lead to 3-0 on a breakaway. Junior midfielder Diego de la Cruz finished the first-half scoring on a deflection.

“We’re becoming a little bit more cerebral as a team,” Ritchie said. “We’re starting to know the runs and movements of the players. We’re far from perfect, but we’ve got a great bunch of boys that want to work and learn.”

Wilson (7-3-1, 5-2-1) had perhaps its best scoring opportunity in the 38th, but goalkeeper Nick Henry, who combined with Quintin Harris on South’s third shutout of the year, saved the shot.

Both of the Wolves’ second-half goals came off the feet of senior defender Gavin Klein, who scored in the 42nd and then added another in the 56th on a penalty kick.

The outcome sets up the final week of the regular season that could determine whether South, the defending Class 4A state championships, wins the Narrows championship. The Wolves play Monday at Bellarmine Prep unless Ritchie can reschedule the match as the Kitsap Pumas also are scheduled to play that day. Ritchie, who also is an assistant coach for the Pumas, said he rescheduled the initial match between the teams at the request of Lions coach Joe Waters.

South lost against Bellarmine twice last year. But even with a win against the Lions, the Wolves still must win their final home match Tuesday against Shelton before playing their regular-season finale Thursday at Stadium. The Tigers are undefeated and won 1-0 on April 13 at Bellarmine.

It is believed that South never has defeated the Lions.

“Records are always there to be broken,” Ritchie said. “That’s why they were invented.”


At South Kitsap 6, Wilson 0

First half: 1, South Kitsap, Austin Arper, 14th minute; 2, South Kitsap, Nico de la Cruz, 26th; 3, South Kitsap, Dallas Brewster, 30th; 4, South Kitsap, Diego de la Cruz, 34th.

Second half: 5, South Kitsap, Gavin Klein, 42nd; 6, South Kitsap, Klein (penalty kick), 56th.

April 15

South Kitsap 1, at Gig Harbor 1

First half: 1, Gig Harbor, Tyler Clarke 27th minute; 2, South Kitsap, Dixon Hammer (Diego de la Cruz) 32nd.

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