By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
PORT ANGELES — Missing two starters to injury and another to a slightly different form of competition — the state Knowledge Bowl meet — Port Angeles found the scoring strike it needed and held on for a 1-0 win over North Kitsap on Saturday at Peninsula College’s Wally Sigmar Field.
“The kids we had step up and fill in those positions really did their jobs and helped contribute to the team,” Roughriders senior captain Andrew St. George said. “We were off to a good start, did a lot of pressuring and had some good shots on goal [in the first half] and we were able to put it down their throats [in the second half].”
St. George netted the game-winner for Port Angeles in the 53rd minute, scoring off a beautiful build up through the heart of the Vikings’ defense started by the team’s offensive spark plug, Stuart Methner.
“A run down the middle, Stuart had the ball and I saw his head come up and we made eye contact and I made that through-ball run,” St. George said. “Stuart made that pass to me, but it went off A.J.[Fischer] there and straight to me in my path and [I stayed in] stride there, yeah.
“I put my head up, saw the keeper was near post and just put it far post, to the bottom right.”
Port Angeles and North Kitsap were hard pressed to do much in the opening 20 minutes as each team had difficulties maintaining possession and building up an attack — likely due to a bit of unfamiliarity across the lineups.
“Both teams were missing two or three starters,” Port Angeles coach Chris Saari said. We didn’t have Hollund Bailey, he was at state Knowledge Bowl. Cameron [Butler] is recovering from the concussion and Luis [Galvan] is hurt.”
Methner found Fischer for a shot that went wide right into the side netting in the 31st. And Methner had the best chance of the first half, pouncing on a loose ball in the North Kitsap goal box and rocketing a shot off the goal bar.
“We had our chances,” Saari said. “We hit the crossbar and A.J. hit the side net. But we knew if we kept chasing we would get one.”
North Kitsap had one late shot on goal but the attempt by Wyatt Murphy was sent directly at Riders’ goalkeeper Anton Kathol who calmly caught the strike and sent it downfield and away from danger quickly.
It was Kathol’s third straight shutout in goal for Port Angeles and third of the week after previously keeping Port Townsend and North Mason off the board.
“We did what we had to do to keep them at zero,” St. George said.
Saari was pleased with how his team filled in for their missing starters.
“A lot of kids have stepped up,” Saari said. “Om Kataria’s work rate was really high, he helped us out and played the whole game. “Hayden Desser filled in for us and Gabe Long filled in for Hollund. Gabe dropped into the back and won all those balls for us.”
Port Angeles (3-1-0, 4-1-0, 12 points) remained in second place with the win, bumping the Vikings into a third place tie with Kingston and Bremerton.
“It’s a huge three points because it keeps us within striking distance of Sequim if we can handle a couple of league games next week against Bremerton and Olympic,” Saari said.
The Riders host Bremerton (1-3-0, 3-3-0) on Tuesday.