With plenty of momentum built up after the quarterfinal win over Puyallup and the opening round triumph over top-seeded Snohomish, the Bellarmine Prep Lions were primed for the semi’s against a familiar foe, the Narrows League champion Central Kitsap Cougars. With the early-season tie and the heartbreaking loss at home late in the season, the Lions were more than ready for the challenge. But Central had other ideas.
Jordan Kollars’ goal in the 55th minute would be all that the Cougars would need in a nail biting 1-0 win in a game where the Lions dominated the play for most of the match, but would just come up short.
“We had opportunities but we did not take advantage of them,” said a disappointed Bellarmine head coach Joe Waters.
While Central owned the midfield for a good portion of the match, Bellarmine created a lot of opportunities up front, with Michael Rector getting behind the defense three times without coming up with the finisher. Cooper Doxon had two opportunities in the box but was turned away by the back-checking Cougar defense on both occasions.
“I was real happy with our execution today, but we were just not able to finish when we had to,” Waters added.
While the Lions were not able to dent the Cougar net, Bellarmine’s back line performed very well, with defender Adam Smith marking Central midfielder Miles Rodriguez-Nilsen all over the field and limiting him to just one good shot on goal all afternoon. With the match entering its final minute, Rector sent a great corner kick into the box and Doxon just missed the equalizer. The Lions then faced Central Valley from Spokane for the third place trophy on May 26. Bellarmine struck early and would not look back, tallying three first-half goals. Cooper Doxon got the Lions on the board with a header in box in the 19th minute, and Michael Rector scored from 15 yards out in the 37th minute. Joe Lovejoy capped it with a header in the box in the 39th minute for a 3-0 halftime lead. Complete domination was attained.
“They came out fantastic today and left no doubt who the best team was, we beat a real good Valley side,” said Waters, who could not have been happier for his outstanding group of seniors. “They were a real fun group to be around, it will be very sad to see them go and to say the least, we’ll have our work cut out for us next year.”
With the victory in hand, Lion seniors’ thoughts turned to their time on the hill.
“It’s just been real great playing with these guys I could not have asked for anything more,” said Rector of his teammates. “This third-place trophy speaks volumes not only of our side but of the strength of the Narrows League in general, it’ a great league.”
“It’s been great being with this group, like Michael said, it’s a real testament to the strength of our program and the Narrows League,” added Doxon.
“I can’t say enough about my time here with Lion soccer and the quality of play in the Narrows League, I’ll take away a lot of great memories with me,” Smith said.