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No glass slipper for Central Kitsap soccer
Christopher Floro doesn’t buy into fairy tales.
Nor is he surprised how far his team has advanced.
The Central Kitsap High School boys soccer coach watched the Cougars upset top-ranked Union High School (Camas) 2-1 on the road last weekend to qualify for the Class 4A state tournament.
“This is not a Cinderella story,” said Floro. “We earned the right to be here.”
The victory marked the second time in three years Central Kitsap has ousted a league champion to advance to state, so the word “surprise” didn’t resonate with Floro.
In 2009, the Cougars also beat South Puget Sound League champion Thomas Jefferson High School (Federal Way) to earn a state bid.
When history repeated itself last Saturday, Floro recognized the upset based on numbers alone.
“Sure, on paper, it was an upset,” he said Monday. “I honestly felt like we had the talent to do it.”
“I don’t think there were too many folks who thought we would host a state playoff game at this stage of the season,” he added.
Despite losing 2-0 to Skyline High School (Sammamish) Tuesday at state, the Cougars still consider their 2011 season a success.
After beating the top two Narrows League squads, Bellarmine Preparatory School (Tacoma) and Gig Harbor High School, Central Kitsap prided itself on its defense to advance to the next level.
“Our defense played superior, we really frustrated Union,” Floro said. “We performed well and beat the league’s top teams, which was indicative of what we could do this season.”
Jordan Kollars, the team’s center midfielder, said Monday that he’s also not surprised by Central Kitsap’s progression, adding that a state appearance was a goal from the beginning.
The sophomore believes this season is already a success story after beating Union, but winning state is the ultimate goal.
“We want to win and move on,” Kollars said. “We might get over a loss a few weeks after the game, but it would be hard to deal with at first.”
Senior Mitchell Flaherty said the difference between this season and the past was better team chemistry. The right midfielder added that communication has improved and as a result, the Cougars earned the right to compete for a state title.
“We moved the ball better and our chemistry has improved,” Flaherty added. “But we learned in games that even when you’re up, you have to keep moving forward and not let up.”
Miles Rodriguez-Nilsen, a junior center midfielder, agreed with his teammate, but also reflected on the Cougars’ successes.
“This game is all about what team wants it the most, so it never feels good to lose,” he said. “But when we look back at what we’ve accomplished, we’ll feel good about this year.”