Pumas Take Gritty 3-0 Win Off Tacoma In 2010 Home Opener
Bremerton, Wash. – On a night when the Narrows Bridge Bell was on the line, the Kitsap Pumas ensured their latest victory was made loud and clear.
Mark Lee, Cameron Hepple and Nik Besagno tallied goals to lead the Pumas past the rival Tacoma Tide 3-0 in front of a crowd of 1,682 at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.
The home-opening win kept Kitsap (3-0-0) perfect in 2010, giving the club bragging rights and an advantage over the Tide in the derby for this season’s Narrows Bridge Bell
It also was a victory that went toward qualification for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in which Kitsap competed last year when it hosted the Portland Timbers of the USL First Division.
“This is what we expect, but we haven’t done anything yet,” said Hepple, who scored on a left-footed blast less than a minute before halftime to give the Pumas a 2-0 lead they never relinquished. “This is just the beginning. We’re going to continue working hard and getting better every day.”
Both sides worked hard the entire game, particularly during a physical first half that included three yellow cards and a couple near-goals from the Tide (0-1-0).
All-league defender Mark Lee gave Kitsap a 1-0 lead in the 17th-minute, receiving a pass from Stephen Phillips on the left side of the box then weaving through traffic to finish with a low, left-footed shot.
It was Lee’s first goal of the season, and gave a cushion to a Pumas defense that has yet to allow a regular-season goal this season.
The club has outscored its opponents 10-0 through three games behind Lee, his fellow defenders Daniel Scott, Stephen Mohn, Taylor Hyde and Jamel Wallace and all-league goalkeeper Dustyn Brim, who was busy much of the night.
“We have depth, we have a lot of substitutes and everyone is fighting for spots,” Lee said of the back line.
Although Tacoma managed nine shots in the first half and hit the post on two separate occasions, the Pumas put the game away shortly after halftime when captain Nik Besagno tallied a goal in the 49th-minute.
Besagno, a first-year Puma, drove a right-footed shot from the top of the box through traffic. The ball blistered through a cluster of players, landing in the right corner of the net.
Neither team would score again.
“We’re getting better, we’re starting to get more comfortable and we’re finding our rhythm,” said coach Peter Fewing.
Fewing was more nervous entering Saturday’s game than he was the first two regular-season matches, both on the road, because of the growing rivalry between Tacoma and Kitsap and the fact it was the club’s first home match of the season. He said he tried no to put too much pressure on the players, but emphasized the magnitude of the contest.
“You have to be careful what you say, what words you use,” Fewing said of his pre-game speech.
With the win, the Pumas improved to 2-0-1 against the Tide in regular-season matches since joining the league last season.
Kitsap is in first place in the PDL Northwest Division with a maximum nine points and faces the Washington Crossfire, formerly the Seattle Wolves, at 7:30 p.m. May 22 at Bremerton Memorial Stadium. Tickets are still available.
To purchase tickets or for additional information, please contact club headquarters at (360) 377-6008.
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Here’s video of the match courtesy of David Falk, who does great work on the Seattle Soccer Examiner.