In Peninsula’s biggest test of the year Thursday night at Roy Anderson Field against Central Kitsap, the Seahawks stepped up and rose to the challenge.
Goals from Jared Brinkman and Teyj Menon proved enough as Peninsula avenged its only loss of the season and knocked off the visiting Cougars, 2-1, to move into first place in the Class 3A South Sound Conference.
Menon was an integral part of both goals. He delivered a fantastic ball on a free kick in the 16th minute, which Brinkman headed home for the first goal of the night. Central Kitsap’s Drew Diefendorf tied the game in the 35th minute with an unlikely free kick goal from distance. But Menon wasn’t done yet.
In the 46th minute, Menon found himself in the right place, as a ball fell back to him in the box. He settled the ball and struck it into the right side of the goal. It would be enough for Peninsula (9-1-1 overall, 9-1-1 SSC 3A), which held on for the win.
“The ball just came to my thigh, I stayed composed and put it in the back of the net,” Menon said.
The win puts the Seahawks in first place, and one step closer to winning the league title. It also serves as a bit of sweet revenge; Peninsula’s only loss this season came on the road against Central Kitsap (9-3-2, 8-3-2), 1-0 in the second game of the season. It was a game many on the team felt like they should have won.
“It feels nice to be on the other end of the stick this time,” said Peninsula coach Brad Scandrett. “It was a good game.”
Winning the league is now a goal within Peninsula’s sights, with games remaining next week against Shelton, Yelm and Timberline.
“It’s a big win,” Scandrett said. “It means a lot to us. We haven’t been in a lot of these moments where we can take advantage and have the potential to win the league. So it’s awesome. I’m super proud of the boys.”
Getting the better of the Cougars left a smile on Menon’s face after the game.
“After (the first meeting), our heads were down,” Menon said. “But we came back and fought as hard as we could, and we just put everything we’ve got into it.”
Menon said the team is focused on finishing strong and winning the league title.
“We’re just giving it all we’ve got,” Menon said. “It would mean so much. As a junior, we’re still making our way up there. We just have to play every game, one at a time.”
A strong junior class has been a big part of Peninsula’s success this season. The Seahawks have nine juniors, in addition to six seniors, making the squad veteran-heavy and experienced.
“We’ve played sports with each other all the way up,” said Peninsula junior keeper Benjamin Undem. “And we have good seniors and some strong freshmen. We just bonded together and made a good team.”
Peninsula’s roster is solid from top to bottom this season, and the Seahawks don’t over-rely on any specific player.
“They play as a team,” Scandrett said. “I’ve been coaching the seniors for four years. It’s kind of the culmination of these guys leading well, leading by the way they play. Everybody plays as a team. It’s what I teach, what I preach, what I say. It’s who we have to be.”
And if the Seahawks have a good week, they could find themselves on top when the dust settles.
“I think it’d be massive,” Scandrett said. “It’s hard to say we’re not thinking that. But I try to keep them focused on Seahawks’ game only. … We have one game at a time, and that’s what we do.”
Menon, who was ecstatic after the game, said the task isn’t finished yet.
“We still have more coming,” Menon said.