Wilson maintained its early position atop the Narrows 3A standings, holding off a late
charge from a quickly improving Mount Tahoma squad for a 2-1 win over the Thunderbirds
March 26 at Stadium Bowl.
“Credit to them, they played tough and they made it hard for us to break them down,” said
Wilson head coach Jason Gjertsen. “We’re glad to get the win, but that’s definitely not our
After having several close calls early, the Rams got on the board in the 30th minute when
Hirvin Canchola-Corral brought down a header from 30 yards out and sent a one-touch drive toward goal. Thunderbirds’ keeper Jose Reyes got a hand on the ball, but it deflected off the crossbar and in to give Wilson a 1-0 lead at the half.
“Not too many keepers are going to stop that,” Gjertsen said of the brilliant strike.
The Thunderbirds’ Brian Wambaa nearly equalized four minutes into the second half, as his low shot from the top of the box momentarily slipped through the hands of Wilson keeper Matvey Shitik, who was able to recover and smother it. Wilson then doubled their lead in the 61st minute, as Canchola-Corral sent a pass outside to wing Munassar Saleh, who weaved through several defenders on the left side and slammed it past Reyes.
“He played well,” said Gjertsen of Saleh. “Ideally that’s our system is get the ball wide…that’s a strength he has is (one on one). He can take people on.”
But Mount Tahoma halved the deficit nine minutes later when Wambaa outran the
Rams’ defense on the right side and slipped a ball past Shitik. Using their speed up top to create some late pressure, the Thunderbirds nearly got the equalizer with five seconds remaining in the game, as a cross narrowly missed the head of forward Ian Karanja in front of goal.
“You need to capitalize on your chances and you need to not make mistakes,” said Mount
Tahoma head coach Scott Nelson, noting the Thunderbirds’ several close losses in their
inaugural season in the Narrows 3A. “Unfortunately, when we’ve made mistakes the other
team has capitalized. I really feel like all these games that we’ve lost have been close games
that we could have gotten something out of. That’s just part of the maturing process.”
Wilson improves to 4-0 in league play and will take on Foss at Lincoln Bowl on March 29
at 7 p.m., while Mount Tahoma drops to 1-3 in the Narrows 3A and will host Timberline on
March 29 at 6:30 p.m.
By Jeremy Helling
STRONG SECOND HALF LEADS LIONS PAST SOUTH KITSAP
Replacing an experienced group of seniors – not to mention several top goal scorers – is never an easy task. That’s what is facing Bellarmine coach Joe Waters this season, and after a slow start the young Lions have begun to find the back of the net with a bit of regularity. It was no different as Bellarmine on March 25, as the Lions dominated South Kitsap on both ends of the pitch and cruised to a 3-1 win to even their Narrows 4A record at 2-2, only four points behind league leader Gig Harbor.
“Our midfield worked very hard today and our defenders did a great job of overlapping, too,” said Waters, who put the Lions’ league season to this point in perspective. “We lost two hard-fought one-goal games to both Gig Harbor and Central Kitsap. Our young side is improving with every game.”
The Lions’ play on both sides of the pitch was so complete that had they converted several missed chances, the margin of victory could have been even more than the 3-1 final score. Bellarmine opened the scoring in the 28th minute when Shane Hallahan headed in a perfect cross from Jack Casey to give the Lions a 1-0 lead.
“It was a great effort tonight, and we’re getting great leadership from our seniors,” said Hallahan. “Our confidence is growing with each match. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
After South Kitsap got the equalizer off a penalty kick in the 34th minute to tie it 1-1 at the half, Bellarmine came out of the locker room and reestablished dominance in the second half. The Lions would take the lead for good in the 55th minute as Drew Barker beat the Wolves’ defense and drilled a shot in the corner of the net for a 2-1 lead. The Bellarmine defenders, who kept the front of the net clear for most of the night, continued to do so for the rest of the match as they continued to apply the pressure to the South Kitsap back line.
The Lions got the clincher in the 68th minute when Brendan Hartley raced down the right side untouched, cut to the middle of the field and drilled a shot into the left side of the net to make it 3-1.
“We’ve come together with this young squad after a slow start,” Waters said. “These young kids are really beginning to trust each other.”
The Lions will now have a long layoff for during Spring Break, and will return to action when they host Gig Harbor on April 10 at 5 p.m.
By Steve Mullen