Sports

Lady Knights soccer playoff bound

Bremerton’s Rachael Pratt (14) fights for position against Olympic’s Nina Mass Oct. 21.  - Jesse Beals/staff photo
Bremerton’s Rachael Pratt (14) fights for position against Olympic’s Nina Mass Oct. 21.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photo

Berth marks team’s first postseason appearance in nearly a decade; coach, team anxious to play.

From spoiler to Cinderella?

It’s a leap the Bremerton girls soccer team must take quickly if it wants to make a postseason run.

The Lady Knights, coming off what to many was a surprise 0-0 draw against ninth-ranked North Kitsap Tuesday, are set to make their first playoff appearance in nearly a decade.

And with highly contested one-goal losses against Olympic, 1-0, and Klahowya, 1-0, along with the NK draw, Bremerton showed in the last three games why it could make playoff noise.

“We’re fighting for everything,” coach Lance McCoy said.

BHS faces either Yelm (5-8) or Timberline (3-9), both of the Western Cascade Conference and teams McCoy believes are beatable, in the opening round of sub-districts Wednesday.

“We don’t want to be one and done,” McCoy said.

Though the Lady Knights (4-10-2 overall, 4-6-1 league) went 0-2-1 in the three-game stretch to end the season, they yielded just three total goals and shut out NK, which entered Tuesday’s game, having scored 36 goals, tops among 3A teams in the 2A/3A Olympic League.

The numbers mark both improvement and what McCoy called “upgraded intensity” on the back line.

“There’s so much confidence right now,” McCoy said.

Co-captain Kelsey Johnson has anchored the defense along with Angelique White, Rachael Pratt, Brooke Erickson and junior goalkeeper, Kristy Wood.

“(We) played very pesky team defense throughout the evening,” McCoy said of the NK game. “(The) defense proved tough all evening long by not backing down to the physical play the Vikings were dishing out. (We) made stop after stop all night long.”

And by thwarting NK’s offense, Bremerton positioned itself to steal the win on a last-minute goal — eerily similar to Olympic’s 1-0 escape job Oct. 21.

With eight minutes left, midfielder Vanessa Friday drove a shot from 25 yards over the goalie’s head. The ball caromed off the crossbar straight down before the Viking defense cleared it.

“A couple inches and that would have buried them,” McCoy said.

McCoy attributed the late-season defensive surge to not only the team’s confidence and intensity level, but the play of Wood, who posted three shutouts and gave up just eight goals over the final eight games of the season.

“Bremerton is peaking as a team when we need it the most ... right now,” McCoy said.

The BHS-NK draw eliminated a potential tiebreaker game between Olympic and NK. That match would have been played in Poulsbo Thursday.

By securing three points with a 7-0 win against Port Angeles Tuesday, coupled with NK’s draw, Olympic leapfrogged the Vikings for first place and the 3A Olympic League regular season championship.

McCoy’s only concern entering the playoffs is his team’s ability — or lack thereof — to score. Absent Jacki Hill, who scored 16 goals last season but is now graduated, the Lady Knights aren’t the offensive threat they’d like to be.

“That’s kind of been our Achilles’ heel,” McCoy said.

For now, however, McCoy is satisfied with his team’s defense and mentality. He said the players are loose, confident and eager to begin postseason play.

“Relaxed teams can do great things,” he added, optimistically.

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