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Vikings clinch Olympic League soccer title
POULSBO — The North Kitsap High School soccer team clinched its first Olympic League championship in more than two decades with a 7-0 rout of Klahowya Tuesday in Poulsbo.
The Vikings remain the only undefeated team in league play, with nine wins and one tie on their record. The one tie came at an April 9 match at Bremerton. Next week, North will face Bremerton at the NK Stadium for their final game of the season. Whatever the outcome of that match, though, the Vikings have already secured their spot atop the division and in the Class 3A West Central District tournament tentatively scheduled for Highline High in Burien, beginning May 16.
"They've worked really hard all year," NK head coach Chris May said. "I'm really proud of them. I'm pleased with how much they've focused at practice and at the training sessions and worked on their own."
The title-clinching win came on a blustery senior night for the home standing Vikings. May started 11 graduating members of his squad and the Vikings quickly built a 4-0 lead in the first 12 minutes. The first goal came just 30 seconds into the contest, when Patrick Prevost followed an Ashe Carlson shot into the goal box and nailed the back of the net. Next came two straight goals from Jon Kidder, in the sixth and eighth minutes.
Kidder and twin brother Simon presented bouquets of flowers to their parents along with the rest of the team's seniors prior to the match.
"Any time they come out and support us, it's really cool," Jon Kidder said after the game.
The Eagles finally took their first shot on goal in the 12th minute, but were easily rebuked by NK keeper Jeremy Dyer. On the ensuing trip downfield, Carlson punched in the Vikings' fourth goal, but collided with Klahowya keeper Dakota Hargrave, sending Hargrave to the sideline. Evan Olson made it 5-0 in favor of the Vikings in the 22nd minute, prompting May to send his son, Nate, a goalie, in at forward. From there, North focused on possessing the ball rather than simply blowing out the overmatched Eagles.
The Vikings have played consistently well all season, even against some tough, non-league opponents like Gig Harbor - which they beat - and Bainbridge - which they tied last week.
"Playing teams in a higher league helps us come together a little bit more, because we get a chance to see what some of the more competitive, higher skilled teams are like," Simon Kidder said.
In the second half, May sent a completely new group of 11 onto the field, and rotated through the better part of his roster. Still, the Vikings continued to dominate. Sophomore Matt Turley scored, as did freshman Nick Tedford.
"We don't have any superstars on the team," May said. "We have 11 guys that go out there and play hard and guys that come off the bench that contribute equally."
With such depth, May is not concerned that a number of his varsity players are graduating next month. While he says his seniors will be missed, May is confident in the strength of the players coming up through the ranks.
"We have a really good group of freshmen coming up, the JV squad's really strong, and we've got guys coming in that are going to play well here for a few years, so we're looking good for a while," May said.