Kitsap Pumas capture division crown

The Kitsap Pumas are division champions.

The first-year professional soccer club secured the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League Northwest Division crown with a 1-0 win over the Abbotsford Mariners Saturday at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.

With the win, the Pumas (11-0-3 league, 36 points) not only clinched their first division title, but also secured a first-round bye in the PDL playoffs.

“I'm pleased for the players,” coach John Wedge said. “They've worked so hard and they've played as a team. They deserve it.”

The Pumas, who are one of three clubs in the 68-club PDL yet to suffer a loss, used a goal from Stephen Phillips in the 68th minute to earn the division-clinching victory. It was Phillips' eighth goal of the season, giving him a club-high 19 points.

Goalkeeper Dustyn Brim registered his sixth shutout in the past 12 games. The club has allowed eight goals this season, the fewest of any PDL team along with Ottawa.

“Our back line always stays solid,” said Alex Megson, who got the assist on Phillips' goal. “There's not a game this year where I can say they didn't have a good game.”

With the division crown and first-round bye wrapped up, the Pumas will look to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs when they visit the Victoria Highlanders at 7 p.m. Friday.

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