POULSBO — The Archbishop Murphy Wildcats were on the attack immediately against the North Kitsap Vikings May 20.
The Wildcats had a shot on the Vikings' goal within 30 seconds of the first half of the state game at North Kitsap Stadium. Then, Brady Henderson got the Wildcats' momentum going with a goal in the third minute, and the Wildcats never looked back.
The Wildcats defeated North Kitsap 3-0 in a first-round match of the 2A State Tournament.
Just minutes into the game, Henderson took a diagonal pass from Gabe Astone and took a shot from close to 45 yards out, burying into the back of the net to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead. Tyler Ptacek scored later in the first half and Henderson assisted on the only goal of the second half as Christian Thode scored to put the game all but out of reach.
“The two of them are our leading scorers and their chemistry is outstanding,” Wildcats head coach Mike Bartley said of Henderson and Thode. “Early in the season we were relying on Christian. Brady is stepping up and is playing really well right now. Having that combination is making it easy for me to coach.”
With the opening-round victory the Wildcats have scored 15 goals in their past four games going back to the district playoffs. Despite the offensive outpouring, Bartley was sure to credit the play of his two freshman goalkeepers, Ryan Henderson and Trevor Johnston, and the play of his backline in the shutout.
“Ryan has been real solid,” Bartley said. “He does everything so well as a freshman. (Ryan and Trevor) really support each other and are real good kids. And our back line lead by Tyler (Ptacek) is outstanding. That group is playing phenonomally.”
The Wildcats advance to the state quarterfinals and play Sedro-Woolley, who defeated Richfield 2-1 on penalty kicks on May 20. The game is scheduled for Saturday at a time and site to be determined.
The Vikings' season ends with a 15-5 record. They shared the Olympic League title with the Kingston Buccaneers (18-2).