Sports

NK girls redeemed with win over BI

North Kitsap’s Siara Byers heads the ball away from Bainbridge’s Lauren Tyner, right, during a soccer match  on Sept. 22. The Vikings beat the Spartans 5-3.  - Jim Bryant/Special the Herald
North Kitsap’s Siara Byers heads the ball away from Bainbridge’s Lauren Tyner, right, during a soccer match on Sept. 22. The Vikings beat the Spartans 5-3.
— image credit: Jim Bryant/Special the Herald

POULSBO — Sometimes a difficult loss can work to a team’s advantage, creating the perfect fuel for an aggressive turnaround.

The Vikings girls soccer team were the beneficiaries of such a situation.

On Thursday, the Vikes lost their league-opener game to Olympic, 2-1, as they came out a little flat.

On Monday evening at the North Kitsap Stadium in a game against the Bainbridge Island Spartans the Vikings were motivated and seeking redemption, which was theirs for the taking.

“Our goal at the beginning of the game was to get off to a better start and to recognize the first and last 10 minutes are really critical,” said head coach Dee Taylor. “We need to own those, and we did.”

After 80 minutes of play the Vikes bounced off the field with another tally in the W column, defeating Bainbridge, 5-3.

Within the first 10 minutes North nailed two goals, putting them up 2-0.

At minute eight freshman midfielder Delanee Nilles had the ball 20 yards out. Nilles pushed it to junior forward Siara Byers who was ready and waiting at the far right side of the Spartans’ goal. Byers took the shot, which sailed up and over the keeper’s head and into the net near the far left post.

“It was a beautiful goal, just perfectly placed,” Taylor said.

Less than two minutes later sophomore midfielder Elya Le, who was all over the turf all night long, collected the ball about 30 yards out. Le blew by a few Spartan defenders and took the shot, which also sailed up and over the keeper’s reach.

With the Vikes up by 2 it was the Spartans’ chance to shake things up a bit.

And Bainbridge, a very cohesive and fast team, did.

At about the 18th minute North passed the ball, but it went long and out. Bainbridge regained possession perilously close the North’s goal. The kick in from the right hand corner of the field landed smack-dab in front of the goal. As all the players swarmed in, the Spartans got a foot on the ball, which rolled into the net.

Bainbridge continued to put pressure on North’s passing game, defending like crazy and stealing the ball, and within 12 minutes the Spartans tied the game.

But North’s players are scrappy and made of grit.

“It was great to see the team’s resilience,” Taylor said. “Bainbridge came back and we just continued to play harder. The tie was a critical point in the game and we responded really well.”

With the seconds ticking down in the first half junior forward/midfielder Madison Taylor arched a precise long shot to senior midfielder Cami Krema, waiting near the box. Krema tapped it in and the Vikes regained the lead.

The Spartans equalized the score in the first 26 seconds of the second half. With the score tied again North could’ve lost its composure and started to rely on booting the ball from the back to alleviate the pressure. But the Vikings played their game, staying clam, keeping the ball on the ground, and passing to the feet, polishing off the final 40 minutes with two more goals.

Byers and Nilles combined for the fourth goal, and then Byers — assisted by herself — made the game’s most impressive play.

Byers made two passes to herself to fly by two Spartan defenders. Then she made another pass to herself, breezing by the keeper. Byers continued to lay down the speed and glanced the ball into the unguarded goal.

“It was remarkable and pretty sophisticated in terms of utilizing her speed,” Taylor said. “You can’t coach that. That was just magic.”

On Tuesday, the Vikes hosted Port Angeles to a key early season league game. Results were not available at press time.

The Vikings, 2-1-1, head to Bremerton on Thursday, game starts at 7 p.m.

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