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Kingston sneaks past Port Townsend in soccer
POULSBO — The Kingston High School girls soccer team survived a late attack by Port Townsend to pick up its first win of the 2009 season Tuesday.
The Redskins managed one goal in the game’s closing minutes, but Kingston held firm enough to wrap up a 2-1 victory.
“I was, overall, impressed with our defensive play,” Kingston Head Coach Craig Smith said. “But we’re having difficulty finishing. Actually, what it is is setting up the finish. I think we touched the ball four times for every time Port Townsend touched it. But it didn’t add up.”
The Buccaneers and Redskins split possession for most of the first half, but Port Townsend began to take control in the final minutes before the intermission. With about eight minutes to play in the first half, the Kingston defense was called for a high kick just outside their own 18 yard box, setting up a free kick for the Redskins. The Bucs defended the shot, but the Redskins wound up with a corner kick and another shot on goal as a result. Once again, the Kingston defense bent but did not break.
Then, with less than one minute before halftime, Kingston’s Rachel Taft took a free kick from behind midfield and sent the ball sailing over the heads of the Port Townsend defense. Three Buccaneers ran to catch up, and on the first bounce Victoria Gerken knocked the ball into the back of the net.
“It was a sweet goal,” Smith said. “It was a forty-some yard ball. It was beautiful soccer.”
Smith spoke to the team at halftime and encouraged them to be more patient and take control of the game’s tempo. As a result, the Bucs came out looking more composed in the second half.
“When we did that, I thought we were creating more opportunities,” Smith said. “We’ve got a ways to go with that yet. But when we get that down, I think this team will step up about two notches.”
The opportunities were there, but the Bucs still had trouble capitalizing, just as they had in the opening half.
“I’ve been trying to get the girls to be a little more conservative and wiser in their shooting, but we might have overdone that today,” Smith laughed.
Finally, in the game’s 70th minute, Kingston junior Isabella Selvidge dribbled the ball into the Port Townsend defense and looped a shot over the head of the Redskin goalkeeper, who had pulled forward after the previous play.
“This is probably my first goal, I think, in the three years I’ve played for the high school so far,” Selvidge said. “It was a good feeling, for sure.”
Despite being down 2-0 though, Port Townsend did not let up. Just five minutes later, forward Irina Lyons arced a shot from 20 yards out, which bounced up high in front of Kingston keeper Sara Nash. Nash tried to slap the ball over the crossbar, but it fell short and ended up in the net. Just minutes later, Lyons again charged downfield. This time, Nash slid in front and forced Lyons to shoot the ball up and over the goal. The Bucs continued to hang on for the 2-1 win.
“They were a strong team, but I think we did a lot better in the second half,” Selvidge said.