Three second-half goals allowed visiting Central Kitsap to overcome a halftime deficit and strengthen its position atop the 3A Narrows League boys soccer standings with a 3-1 road victory over Wilson on Thursday night at Stadium Bowl.
The win improved Central Kitsap’s record to 7-2-1 overall and 7-0-1 in league play, while second-place Wilson fell to 5-4 overall and 5-3 in the Narrows.
Burhan Saleh put the Rams in position for shots on several long free kicks, and one of his longest set up the first goal of the game. In the 36th minute, Saleh lined up for a 50-yard free kick, finding Hasan Altameemi in front of the goal for a header into the left side of the net. That gave Wilson a 1-0 halftime advantage despite being outshot 12-6.
“I challenged them at halftime,” Central Kitsap coach Christopher Floro said, “that if we came out mentally prepared and combined it with the talent we have on our team, we would take care of business and win the second half.”
The Cougars maintained their offensive attack to open the second half, and they nearly tied the score less than two minutes in when Wilson goalkeeper Alek Greenleaf saved a one-on-one shot from close range. A corner kick set up the tying goal two minutes later, as Isaiah Roland’s pass found Jack Coupe in the middle of the box. Coupe shot off the right post before scoring the rebound for the 1-1 tie.
“As we were coming out of the locker room, Jack said to me, ‘Coach, we need someone to score a goal up top,’ and he went out and led by example and put a ball in the back of the net,” Floro said. “That affirmed in their minds that we can do this, and that we should do this.”
An aggressive style of play led to high foul counts and a pair of yellow cards and set up the go-ahead goal for the visitors. A Wilson foul in the box in the 51st minute put Logan Beachy at the spot for a penalty kick and a 2-1 lead.
Beachy added an insurance goal for the Cougars in the 68th minute of play.Christopher Blanton took the ball into the left corner and pulled Greenleaf out of the net before passing to Beachy for an open 10-yard shot.
“This was a very key game with us in first place and Wilson in second,” Floro said. “This strengthens our position and shows our players that we can take it to other teams rather than sitting back and letting them take it to us as the team in first place.”