Wins and zeroes continued to pile up for Kentwood’s girls soccer team last week.
The Conquerors, who opened the week ranked eighth in the state poll, upended Auburn Riverside, 1-0, on Thursday and continued the onslaught on Saturday with a 10-0 drubbing of Kent-Meridian.
With the two wins, Kentwood (8-0-0 with 24 points) retained a firm grasp of first place in the South Puget Sound League North Division. The win over second-place Auburn Riverside was particularly big for the Conquerors, who entered the week with a 7-point advantage over the Ravens (5-1-2, 17 points).
“It’s been a really good start,” fifth-year head coach Aaron Radford said. “I expected us to do well defensively.”
Doing “well” might be an understatement. Kentwood goalkeepers Courtney Johnson and Megan Walburn have combined for seven straight shutouts heading into Tuesday’s game against Federal Way. During that span, Kentwood has outscored its opponents 24-0.
“Our strength coming into this season is really with our defenders, goalies and defensive (midfielders),” Radford said.
However, the key for the team’s success could lie with the five years of work Radford has spent building a tradition of success with the program. According to Radford, the prestige of the program has risen within the athletic community at Kentwood, over the past handful of years.
“(The prestige) might be there a little,” Radford said. “I know within our program we’ve always had a strong group of girls that had pride in the team and that’s trickled down. The pride issue is starting to develop.
“At Kentwood, the school has always had a strong athletic program,” he added. “The student body support at Kentwood is amazing. The turnout and support is good and the girls feel the pride of what it’s like to be a Kentwood soccer player. I like to think that the tradition has started.”
Having gone through the first half of their league schedule unscathed, the hard part is just beginning for the Conquerors.
“They have to come out and play (in the second half) to their abilities,” Radford said. “We can’t rely upon the first eight games. Now we have to come out and ignore the performance from the first time. It’s a new team we’re facing the second time around. The target on our back gets bigger every day. Every team wants to be the next one to score a goal on us. Every team wants to be the one to beat us for the first time.”
• ALSO: Jefferson (2-3-3) and Kentridge (2-3-3) battled to a 0-0 tie this past Saturday at French Field. Natalie Spadafora and Krystal Daniels were awarded the shutout for the Chargers. Nicole Price was awarded the shutout for the Raiders. … Tahoma (5-2-1) overcame an own goal to defeat Federal Way (3-4-1). Mande McKinney and Kaylee Osterman both scored goals and Cassidy Richmond and Toree Flynn earned assists. … Auburn Riverside’s (5-1-2) Chelsea Pries and Kentlake’s (2-3-3) Amber Forsell both scored goals in a 1-1 tie.
Kent-Meridian continued to surge last Thursday, handling Tahoma in four games: 25-23, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-17. Tanya Pyatohka and Kayla Ierlan led the Royals (3-0 in league, 3-3 overall heading into Tuesday) with 10 kills apiece. Maria Bahlenhorst and Megan Brothers paced the Bears (0-3, 2-6) with 12 kills each. … Second-ranked Kentwood remained perfect (3-0 in league, 8-0 overall) with a three-game sweep of Federal Way: 25-7, 25-5 and 25-10. Jocy Wilson served up 14 assists for the Conquerors, who play Kentridge today in a pivotal South Puget Sound League North Division match. … Kentlake won its third straight on Thursday, cruising past Auburn in three games: 25-17, 25-17, 25-22. Melissa Kozy led the way with 12 kills and four aces. … Kentridge knocked off previously unbeaten Bethel on Thursday in a nonleague match: 25-18, 27-25, 18-25 and 25-21. KR’s Ashley Nguyen continued to post huge numbers, racking up 21 kills in the win.
For more scores, please see The Reporter’s online edition.