Kent Is­land locks up North Bay­side crown

Shutout of Eas­ton nets Bucs’ first di­vi­sion since 2011

Record Observer - - Sports - By CHRIS KNAUSS ck­nauss@star­dem.com

KI 3 — Eas­ton 0

STEVENSVILLE — A show­down be­tween two un­de­feated teams be­came a show­case for Kent Is­land High’s soccer skills Thurs­day evening at Andy Schipul Sta­dium.

The Buc­ca­neers shot well, passed well, de­fended well, and ba­si­cally did ev­ery­thing well in a con­vinc­ing 3-0 vic­tory to clinch their first North Bay­side boys’ soccer ti­tle since 2011.

Kent Is­land mid­fielder Blake Groves blasted a right­footer in­side the right post for a 3-0 lead in the 50th minute. His goal came af­ter a se­ries of pass­ing and dodg­ing ex­changes by both Ryan Knaggs and Andi Me­jia on the left wing that ended with Me­jia cen­ter­ing to Groves.

Knaggs had opened the game’s scor­ing mid­way through the first half with a per­fectly-placed, well-struck curv­ing right-footer, from 18-yards out, in­side the far post — a shot that Eas­ton goalie Wal­ter Mor­ris had no chance stop­ping.

“Ryan Knaggs is such a hand­ful to keep a hold of; it’s so dif­fi­cult to de­fend him,” said Bucs head coach Lin Out­ten, whose team im­proved to 10-0 over­all, 7-0 North Bay­side.

The game stayed close with Kent Is­land hold­ing a 1-0 lead at half­time be­fore the Bucs put it away in the first 10 min­utes of the sec­ond half.

Carter Dun­can beat Mor­ris to the ball on a fast break cre­ated by Groves’ lead pass, and Dun­can left-footed a roller into a wide-open cage to put the Bucs ahead 2-0 in the 45th minute. Groves capped the scor­ing five min­utes later.

“Well, it prob­a­bly was closer than the score. Eas­ton’s a good team,” Out­ten said. “They played well. Peo­ple who just saw the score might not think Eas­ton played well, but they played re­ally well.”

Af­ter grad­u­at­ing a slew of play­ers from last year’s team, Out­ten didn’t know what to ex­pect this sea­son.

“It’s funny, you grad­u­ate 10 guys and you say, ‘How do you re­place those 10 guys, and what’s the team go­ing to look like,’ and then all these guys step up and just play fan­tas­tic,” he said.

As good as Kent Is­land’s at­tack per­formed against the three-time de­fend­ing di­vi­sion cham­pion, its de­fense was just as good, lim­it­ing the War­riors to only a few scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Eas­ton (7-1, 5-1) was able to get the ball into Kent Is­land’s end of the field, but its passes and drives were cut off by the Bucs’ de­fense. The War­riors also failed to cap­i­tal­ize on sev­eral cen­ter­ing passes into open spa­ces in the goal area.

“Our back line is so hard to get past, and around, and over, and through,” Out­ten said. “They do such a great job. The cen­ter backs, Dorsey Schulz and Kyle Alle­walt, they’re just a dy­na­mite pair in the mid­dle and have been lead­ing us all year. I don’t know if you hear the talk that they’re giv­ing the guys. The di­rec­tion and lead­er­ship from those two guys is so good for our team. But it was great up and down the field, all the po­si­tions. I was hoping for our best ef­fort tonight and I’m glad we got it.”

De­spite lim­ited ac­tion, Kent Is­land goalie Jack­son Davis (two saves) re­mained ag­gres­sive. He left the crease to grab a fine cen­ter­ing pass by Eas­ton’s Car­los Her­nan­dez early in the sec­ond half to keep the Bucs in front.

Mor­ris (five saves) was also ag­gres­sive. He left the cage in the 5th minute and col­lided with Groves to break up a scor­ing op­por­tu­nity. Groves was in­jured on the play, but he re­turned in the 24th minute and con­trolled much of the mid­field play through­out the re­main­der of the game.

“Him get­ting hurt wor­ried me in the first half,” Out­ten said, “be­cause he’s such an im­por­tant player for us right in the mid­dle. Get­ting him back on was like a key mo­ment of the game. We played re­ally well get­ting him back in there. … He’s a kid who didn’t start last year, and he is just play­ing like dy­na­mite.”

The Bucs fin­ished with 13 shots and six cor­ner kicks com­pared to six shots and three cor­ners for Eas­ton.

“That Eas­ton team’s re­ally good, and I re­minded the guys there’s a good chance we’ll play them again [in the post­sea­son]. They have ta­lented play­ers. They’re well coached,” Out­ten said.

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @csknaussE­mail me at ck­nauss@star­dem.com

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

Kent Is­land’s Jaden Ken­dall (14) fights for pos­ses­sion along with Eas­ton’s Mauro Garniga-Al­varado dur­ing the first half Thurs­day evening at Andy Schipul Sta­dium.

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