Pacing themselves: Viking girls soccer face districts head on

Players on the North Kitsap High girls soccer team practice Nov. 2 at Strawberry Field. - Kipp Robertson/ Staff Photo
Players on the North Kitsap High girls soccer team practice Nov. 2 at Strawberry Field.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson/ Staff Photo

POULSBO — Despite a slow start, the Viking girls soccer team has ground its early season record into the grass.

“We have really settled down and begun to play as a team,” said team captain Lindesy Foster.

Foster, a junior at North Kitsap High, said instead of rushing the ball down the field, the team has slowed their pace and let their opponents wear out.

The team is 10-4 overall and 7-1 in the Olympic League. They will face an opponent from the South Puget Sound League on Nov. 6. A victory at districts would lead the team to the state championship. The last time the girls soccer team went to state was in 2008.

This is the second year in a row the team has gone to the district tournament, said head coach Dee Taylor.

Taylor has coached the team for three years and said the relatively young team this year has learned to play a simpler game of soccer.

In the start of the season, he said players were forcing the ball down the field, which resulted in them wearing down faster and becoming frustrated. He worked on teaching the team how to let the ball do more of the work, which he said let’s them focus more on their strengths during the game.

“Every team has to find its own identity,” Taylor said. “This team took a little longer than other teams, now we can focus on what we do best.”

In Taylor’s eyes, the team’s turning point came during a game against North Mason High on Oct. 7.

The game against North Mason resulted in a 9-0 victory, which was a drastic difference from the previous matches. The largest win before that game was against Port Townsend, ending in a 3-1 Viking win.

After the game against North Mason, Taylor said the team’s attitude changed and the decisions being made by the younger players were stronger.

“Having multiple viewpoints really helped the players perform well this season, too,” said assistant coach Nicole Funk.

Funk played three years of soccer at NK and, in 1998, went to state. As a student, she noticed the importance of a strong coaching staff. A coach herself now, she said Taylor and the rest of the coaches can all help bounce ideas off each other.

“Having coaches that are very knowledgeable about the game is always beneficial,” Funk said. “Because of that, I think our players are ready for the rest of the season.”

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