Sports

North continues flawless play

Kingston High School middle Dana Van Wyck battles for the ball against North Kitsap middle Elya Le during action at North Kitsap Thursday. - Brad Camp/Staff photo
Kingston High School middle Dana Van Wyck battles for the ball against North Kitsap middle Elya Le during action at North Kitsap Thursday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff photo

Prep girls Vikings beat Bucs 4-1.

POULSBO — The Vikings girls soccer team has a stellar first touch and passing game.

They’d mark the ball and players would move into perfect position to receive it. As soon as a pair of North cleats touched the ball, it settled and after a moment’s pause play resumed with control and precision. Their long, more than 20-yard passes, were aimed slightly in front of the intended recipient, who’d turn on the speed and reach the ball at just the right time.

North’s quick and creative style of play “baffled” the Kingston Buccaneers’ defense during the inter-district match up played at the North Kitsap Stadium Thursday night.

“North is confident, skilled, quick and creative. They’re clearly the best team we’ve faced in the league,” said Kingston head coach Craig Smith. “(On defense) North locked to us tight and let us know they were there.”

After 80 minutes of play North added another win to its near flawless record, defeating the Bucs 4-1.

North’s head coach Dee Taylor said for a group of girls, some of who’ve gone through three high school coaches and most who play on different select teams with different soccer styles, it’s taken quite a while to get the players to gel and put the big picture together on the field. The Vikings have spent a lot of time in practice playing tight space, small group possession games, which definitely paid off Thursday night, as this is what caused havoc for Kingston.

“We were able to possess more under pressure and panic less, they all understood their role and we’re definitely improving on passing to the feet, which is something we want to do,” Taylor said. “The outside midfielders are doing a better job of recognizing that putting the ball into space is pretty effective.”

Within the first nine minutes North claimed control of the scoreboard, as Sydney Byers scored off an assist by Elya Le. About 20 minutes later Delanee Nilles, who’d only subbed back in for 30 seconds, received a pass from Siara Byers near the end line. Siara gave a soft 10-yard shift over to Nilles who first-time touched it into the corner.

Four minutes later Nilles laid off a pass to Sydney near the top of the penalty box, and on her first touch Sydney nailed a shot into the upper left corner.

After 33 minutes of play North led by 3.

However, as Taylor said Kingston is athletic, played hard and made a game of it. Smith said his girls didn’t back down and played aggressive regardless what the scoreboard reflected.

The Bucs continued to pressure North, rushing for a steal or preventing a few Vikings runs. At the open of the second half, it happened fast, but in slow motion.

Rachel Tafte, took a direct free kick, which sailed up and over the eager eyes of all the players and into the out-stretched grasp of Viking keeper Christine Parker’s hands. The slick, wet ball slipped from her grasp and into the net.

Goal, Kingston.

“We were able to hold our own and they didn’t back down,” Smith said.

North polished off its scoring efforts with a Madison Taylor clean shot in.

Although the less experienced and younger Bucs underwent a three-point loss from North, Smith couldn’t be more proud of the team’s improvements. Kingston played two of the best teams in the league this week, Olympic on Tuesday and North. Last year the Bucs lost 6-0 to both teams and this year lost 1-0 in sudden death overtime to Olympic and held North to four.

“They’re playing with more confidence,” Smith said. “Last year they were scared and this year they’re saying ‘Let’s do it.’ They were able to hold their heads high after the game and that’s a sign of something good.”

On Tuesday the Vikings, 6-1-1, and 3-1 in league travel to North Mason.

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