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Neck and neck: Bucs, Vikes soccer battle for first
POULSBO — If Greg St. Peter had a choice in which team the North Kitsap Vikings varsity soccer team would be tied with, it would be the Kingston Buccaneers.
St. Peter’s choice matched up with the Olympic League standings this week.
The Bucs and Vikes were tied for first with 30 points as of Thursday morning. The Bucs were scheduled to play the Port Angeles Roughriders Thursday afternoon; the Vikes were scheduled to play the Klahowya Eagles.
Though he would prefer to be tied with the Bucs than any other team, St. Peter would like to see the rival team lose one and the Vikes take the lead.
The Vikes (10-0-0-2) lost 3-2 to the Bucs (10-1-1-1) April 19 in overtime. The loss has focused the Vikes more, St. Peter said.
If the Bucs and Vikes remain tied through the end of the season, the teams could be co-league champions.
Both teams have three games left of the regular season, according to documents available on the teams’ websites.
Being co-champion is one thing, however. St. Peter and Kingston coach Craig Smith said it is more important to finish at the top of the league to earn a higher seed into the West Central District III tournament. The top two teams in the league earn home games during the first round of the district tournament, which will be held the second week in May. Exact tournament details were not available when the Herald went to press.
“When it comes to seeding for first and second for Districts, it is more important than the league trophy,” Smith said.
The Sequim Wolves and Olympic Trojans are third and fourth in the Olympic League. The top five teams advance to post-season.
St. Peter does not want to see the Vikes lose another game.
“That’s a setback for us,” he said. “We want to enter Districts confident and strong.”
On paper, the most difficult team the Vikes will face as the season wraps up is the Wolves, May 6 at Sequim High School.
The only real difficulty the Vikes have had as the season continues is finishing scoring chances. However, even that has not been much of a setback, with two losses. And, during the 6-1 win over Port Townsend April 23, St. Peter said the team was much better at taking advantage of those opportunities.
The Bucs are scheduled to play the Eagles April 30. The Eagles were sixth overall in league play as of April 21.
Smith wants the Bucs to maintain a strong defense and keep goals against them low. Though he moved Nick Boles — the team’s top scorer — to midfield, it’s balanced out the field, and defense is even better.
“I think out team is steadily improving,” Smith said.