After winning three of their previous five matches, Bellarmine Prep had quickly jumped back into the playoff conversation in the Narrows 4A. But the young Lions hit a speed bump against first-place Central Kitsap on April 23, surrendering two late goals in the first half and falling 4-1 at home to the Cougars.
“We made way too many defensive errors that ended up in goals,” said Bellarmine head coach Joe Waters. “We’ve got to get better at that.”
The Lions held the Cougars scoreless through 20 minutes, but Central Kitsap’s Kurt Koemmpel got his squad on the board on a low shot past Bellarmine keeper Jacob Hillyer in the 21st minute. But junior Drew Barker answered two minutes later for the Lions, driving a shot into the right side from 20 yards out to tie it up. Eric Musica nearly gave the Lions the lead in the 27th minute with a nice header off Barker’s cross, but Cougars keeper Lorenzo Alvarenga leaped in the air to save it. Koemmpel then regained the lead for the Cougars in the 30th minute by driving a ball into the right netting off a tough angle from the left side. The Cougars’ Alex Moon made it 3-1 six minutes later by tapping in a cross that bounced around in the box, and the Lions were unable to clear. Koemmpel then collected the hat trick by finishing a nice pass from Cameron Watson 10 minutes into the second half, putting the game out of reach.
The Lions still had several chances to dent the scoreboard again, as Shane Hallahan sent a nice pass to Musica in the 59th minute, but Alvarenga deflected the shot. Bellarmine captain Connor Thompson flashed some nifty moves in the 71st minute, crossing up three Central Kitsap defenders on the edge of the box, but Alvarenga was again up to the challenge and blocked his shot out of play.
The loss left the Lions in fifth place in the Narrows 4A standings, trailing South Kitsap by just three points in the quest for a playoff berth.
“You have to learn from it and move on,” Waters said. “Our goal is to try and make the playoffs. We knew it was going to be difficult. The teams we’re playing against are all good teams, they’ve all got experienced players. We’ll just keep battling on and trying to get things right.”