GIRLS SOCCER: Kentwood knocks off South Kitsap, advances to state semis

  • BY Wire Service
  • Monday, November 16, 2009 5:08pm
  • Sports

Sometimes even good teams need a little luck.

The Kentwood High girls soccer team has been plenty good this season, but needed a little luck on its side Saturday afternoon against fifth-ranked South Kitsap in a Class 4A state quarterfinal match at Mount Tahoma High.

The Conquerors were outshot by the Wolves 12-4, lost leading scorer Kiana Kraft (ankle) in the 28th minute and already were playing without standout defender/midfielder Rachel Bindl (concussion). Yet, thanks to a goal from sophomore midfielder Reilly Retz in the 45th minute and another staunch defensive performance, Kentwood managed to fend off South Kitsap, 1-0.

With the win, the Conquerors (16-0-4) earned a berth in the state semifinals and will play seventh-ranked Skyline at 8 p.m. next Friday night at Harry E. Lang Stadium in Lakewood. Skyline upended Beamer on Saturday, 1-0, in another quarterfinal matchup. The Spartans won the Class 4A state title last season.

This is the first time Kentwood has ever advanced to the state semifinals.

“The girls set out to prove me wrong this year and break records they set last year and they haven’t stopped doing it,” said Kentwood coach Aaron Radford. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of them.”

Retz’s goal came on a corner kick by Kentwood’s Dana Wareham. Wareham’s chip shot pinballed around in a sea of Conquerors and Wolves until it found Retz, who turned from five yards out and tapped the ball into the back left portion of the net.

“I turned around and there was an opening, so I kind of tapped it,” Retz said. “It was a rush. A mixture of relief and adrenaline was running through my body.”

Kentwood coach Aaron Radford felt much the same. Because up until that point of the game, the Wolves (13-1-3) dominated the run of play.

“I don’t know,” Radford responded after being asked how the Conks pulled it out. “Getting the goal we got … I was hoping we’d get a break like that. It was the only corner (kick) of the game we had. I honestly didn’t think we could hold on for another game like that when we lost another vital player (in Kraft).”

The score created the perfect storm for Kentwood (16-0-4), which entered the game having outscored its opponents 49-2.

With the 1-0 lead in hand, Kentwood’s defenders – Wareham, Clarisa Hammer, Andrea Hatfield and Madison Fuller – tightened the knot on the Wolves. South Kitsap had a handful of point-blank opportunities, one in the first half and two in the second. However, with each opportunity, the Wolves had at least one – if not more – Kentwood defenders closing in fast.

“I felt like three (shots) got away from us,” said South Kitsap coach Julie Cain, whose team was playing without star Becca Schoales, who was at a tryout for a national-level team. “I thought we had three right on the goal line that we didn’t convert.”

In comparison, Kentwood managed just four shots on goal in the entire game, none of which were tremendous looks.

Kentwood’s Megan Walburn and Courtney Johnson teamed up in goal for the shutout. It’s the tandem’s 18th shutout of the season.

After the game, Bindl revealed that she was cleared to play in next Friday’s semifinal. In addition, Kraft insisted she’d be ready to take the field.

“It’s not broken, it’s just a sprain,” Kraft said of her left ankle. “I’m fine. I will be able to play next week.”

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