Bellarmine Prep is getting strong play out of their defense at the right time. In a tight race in the Narrows 4A, the Lions topped Central Kitsap 2-0 at home on Oct. 22 – their third straight shutout – to move to second place in the league standings.
“Everyone just worked our butts off, and we started strong,” said Bellarmine Prep senior forward Madison Taylor. “We just finished together as a team. We needed this.”
The Lions brought most of the pressure early, but couldn’t find the finishing ball on their opportunities. Taylor dented the scoreboard for the Lions in the 29th minute with a diving header in the far post off a cross from Lauren Jensen, who had run down a pass near the right end line.
“We knew it was going to be very hard against them,” said Lions head coach Joe Waters. “You’ve got to get something of quality, and we really did.
“It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Alyssa Carter created Central Kitsap’s best look at goal in the 51st minute, breaking away from the defense and dribbling around keeper Madison Covell, but Lions defender Emily Nelson slid just in time to block the shot toward an open goal. The Lions doubled their lead six minutes later, as Chanelle Pederson sent a corner kick to the far post and Nelson redirected it toward the middle, where Joey Cisakowski drove it into the open net.
“We worked on set plays yesterday for a good while,” Waters said. “We talked about position, and Emily Nelson got right in there and did exactly what we talked about.”
Nelson, Pederson, Julia Hallis and Abby Gallinatti then stood firm on the back line, repelling the Cougars’ advances and helping to begin counterattacks. Covell helped the defensive effort by making four saves.
“I think our ladies in the back have done a really good job of covering, making sure they have their marks, and then clearing the ball and putting the ball over the top,” Taylor said.
The win gave the Lions four victories and three draws in league play, temporarily moving them six points behind first-place Gig Harbor. The Lions were set to play at Stadium on Oct. 24, and will host third-place South Kitsap on Oct. 29 at 4 p.m. With second through fifth place in the standings separated by just four points, there still is a wide array of playoff possibilities.
“This is a huge win for us,” Waters said. “Every game that we’re going to play from now on is a huge game for us, so we have to be ready to play every one…it’s a great league competition because everyone is in it.”