By ERICK WALKER
Perfection eluded the Kentwood girls soccer team Thursday night.
Another top-notch defensive performance and a league championship did not.
Courtney Johnson and Megan Walburn combined for their 12th consecutive shutout, but it was in a 0-0 South Puget Sound League North Division tie against rival Tahoma at French Field.
Despite the deadlock, third-ranked Kentwood (12-0-1, 37 points) sealed its second straight North Division title as it moved an insurmountable 12 points ahead of second-place Tahoma (7-2-4, 25 points) and Auburn Riverside (7-2-4, 25 points).
The top four teams from the North advance to the SPSL playoffs, which begin Nov. 5. Winning the title courtesy of Thursday’s tie gives the Conquerors an automatic berth to the West Central District playoffs, which is set for Nov. 8.
“It’s not as exciting or thrilling as winning it,” said Kentwood coach Aaron Radford, whose team also has won three of the last four North Division titles. “It was an exciting game. We were pushing forward. We had very dangerous chances in the final 10 minutes; we just couldn’t find the net.”
Nor could the Bears, who were limited to just four shots all night, two of which were well off the mark.
It was not only was a credit to Kentwood’s stingy goalkeepers, but also to the four girls — defenders Dana Wareham, Rachel Bindl, Cari Witruk and Andrea Jensen — in front of them, Radford said.
Kentwood hasn’t allowed a goal in league play since a 4-1 victory against Federal Way in the season opener on Sept. 9. During that span, the Conquerors have outscored their opponents, 35-1.
“There goes the feeling of our perfect season, but we still have 12 consecutive shutouts,” Radford said. “I think we won the game from our standpoint. We played a great game.”
Tahoma, as always, has proven to be Kentwood’s toughest challenger. The Bears dropped a 1-0 decision to the Conquerors at the end of September and kept pace with them on Thursday night. Kaila Wilkinson and Amber Woolcock combined in goal for Tahoma’s share of the shutout.