Cougars top Lions in title clash

The term “the schedule maker got it right” is often misused in the sporting world. But after 80 minutes of fast and furious soccer action on May 4 at Bellarmine Memorial Stadium, Bellarmine and Central Kitsap left it all on the field, as Central would squeak out a 2-1 win over the Lions and put themselves in the driver’s seat for the Narrows League title.

“We weren’t at our best tonight, but give C.K. credit as they established themselves early and found a way to win,” said veteran Lions coach Joe Waters.

The Lions dominated the first half of play but could not find the back of the net as the Cougars four-five-one defense kept Bellarmine at bay. Central broke through in the 15th minute as Derek Bonafillia found the back of the net off a scramble in front, and the Cougars would take a 1-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Central went into an attacking mode to start the second half, but the Lions would soon find the equalizer as Cooper Doxon hammered home a shot from just inside the box in the 43rd minute. Central would grab back the momentum as Miles Rodriquez-Nilsen redirected a pass with his left foot just inside the top of the box off a pass from Jordan Kolars to give the Cougars a 2-1 lead in the 53rd minute.

The Lions would just miss on several good tries around the Cougar goal, and were unable to dent the back of the net as Central held on for the hard-fought win. With an 8-0 win over Shelton on May 7, the Cougars claimed the Narrows 4A title and the number-one seed to districts.

“We put in a great effort but we could not get that equalizer,” said Waters, in his 21st year as the Lions’ coach. “Now we think about Olympia and maybe see these guys again at district.”

We could only be so lucky to see a rematch.

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