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Bremerton boys soccer playoff-bound
The Internet was a novelty and cell phones were clunkier than a backpack full of textbooks.
Much has changed since the Bremerton boys soccer team last made the playoffs in 1991, but the Knights are once again postseason-bound thanks to a 4-1 win over rival Olympic at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.
Coupled with Sequim’s 1-0 win against Port Angeles the same night, the Knights secured the Olympic League’s No. 2 seed for the Class 3A West Central District III boys soccer tournament.
BHS will face the No. 2 seed from the Western Cascade Conference in a loser-out game at 7 p.m. May 14 at Harry Lang Stadium in Tacoma.
“I’m just glad we won,” said BHS junior forward Matt Olson, who scored two goals to boost his league-leading season total to 22 to go with 10 assists. “I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve been in the playoffs.”
The Knights (5-5-3 overall, 4-3-3 league) entered Tuesday’s game in a near must-win situation, trailing Port Angeles (5-10-1, 4-6-1) by one point for the league’s second and last Class 3A playoff spot. A loss coupled with a PA win would have eliminated BHS from postseason contention.
“I just told (the team) that we could have put this away last Thursday,” BHS coach Randy Lund said, referring to a 3-2 loss to PA April 30. “Had we won that game, we’d be in the playoffs right now.”
Had PA won Tuesday, the Knights would have needed to beat Olympic League champion North Kitsap in their final league game May 9 to leapfrog the Roughriders in the standings.
Now, however, Lund plans to rest his players during both the NK game and a non-league contest Wednesday before the playoffs begin.
“It’s going to be a tough week, playing three games in three days,” Lund said.
Tuesday, it looked anything but tough for the Knights, who scored two goals before halftime and effectively ended the game early in the second half with a Nick Riders goal in the 48th minute.
Anthony Toombs connected on a one-timer from about five yards out off a Riders cross to open the scoring in the 28th minute, slipping a low shot past all-league goalkeeper Thomas Bryan into the left corner of the net. Olson scored two minutes later.
“Like I told the kids, ‘We’ve got to go out and win tonight ... It’s do or die,” Lund said. “They put it together and came up up with a win.”
But the Knights also led 2-0 at halftime during their first meeting with Olympic April 7, only to see the Trojans score twice in the second half to salvage a tie. Lund called it a game his team “let slip away.”
“At halftime I said, ‘You need to score in the first 10 or 15 minutes of the second half. If you do that, it will let the wind out of their sails,’” Lund said. “Whenever you’re in a 2-0 game and you allow that team to get that first goal, then they have a sense that they’re back in the game and there’s a momentum shift.”
After Riders’ goal in the 48th minute, Paul Brumm converted a penalty kick in the 67th to cut the lead to 3-1. Olson, however, closed the scoring with his second goal, in the 78th minute.
The No. 2 seed from the Western Cascade League will be either Capital (12-3-0, 4-1-0) or Yelm (11-3-1, 4-1-0). Both teams finished the regular season yesterday, but results from their respective matches were unavailable at press time.
Regardless, the Knights’ nearly two-decade playoff drought is over and the team is excited to move forward.
“Our goal was to make it to the playoffs last season and that didn’t happen,” said Lund, in his second year at the helm. “I sat the guys down this season and told them what my expectations were. They are starting to gel a bit, we just have to stay on track.”
If the Knights beat the WCC No. 2 team, then they would play either the Seamount League No. 2 or the South Puget Sound League No. 2 at 3 p.m. May 16 at Harry Lang Stadium.
at Bremerton 4, Olympic 1
First half—1, B, Anthony Toombs (Nick Riders), 28th. 2, B, Matt Olson, 30th.
Second half—3, B, Riders, 48th. 4, O, Paul Brumm (PK), 67th. 5, B, Olson (Alex Membrere), 78th.