KW delivers another shutout, blanks Tahoma

Shutouts are beginning to pile up for Kentwood’s girls soccer team.

Shutouts are beginning to pile up for Kentwood’s girls soccer team.

The Conquerors – behind sophomore midfielder Kiana Kraft’s goal in the 23rd minute and another stingy performance from goalkeepers Megan Walburn and Courtney Johnson – turned back Tahoma last Thursday night, 1-0, in a South Puget Sound League North Division showdown.

“This was one of those early-season games that both teams were looking forward to,” Kentwood coach Aaron Radford said. “We felt it was a big game and a very good test in the first half of the season.”

Indeed it was. The victory was especially key in the playoff race as first-place Kentwood (5-0-0, 15 points heading into play Tuesday) and third-place Tahoma (3-1-1, 10 points) finished 1-2 in league last year.

Kraft provided all the scoring Kentwood would need midway through the first half, taking the pass at midfield, dribbling down to the 18-yard line, just to the right of the box, before sizzling a shot into the net.

With that goal in hand, Kentwood continued to play the kind of defense that has allowed the Conquerors to remain perfect thus far. Walburn and Johnson split time in goal and combined for the shutout, their fourth straight.

In their five wins, Kentwood, the North Division favorite entering the season, has outscored its opponents 16-1.

“I am very pleased with our defensive effort,” Radford noted. “Getting shutouts as well as limiting shots altogether is a nice thing.”

Tahoma had a handful of opportunities, including a free kick from roughly 18 yards out with 12 minutes remaining that deflected off the crossbar.

“We had a few missed opportunities, a few good shots on goal but we just could not get past their defense,” Tahoma coach Corinne Welch said. “They played us very tough and did a great job keeping possession of the ball and denying us offensive opportunities.”

• ALSO: Just five games into the season, Kentlake continued to show it’s going to be a factor, working a 0-0 tie with Tahoma last Tuesday. The tie came just days after throttling Federal Way 4-1 in a game that freshman Laura Rayfield collected her first hat trick of the season. … Title contender Auburn Riverside (4-0-1, 13 points heading into play Tuesday) rebounded last week from a 0-0 tie with Kentridge on Sept. 18, to beat Jefferson (4-2) and Auburn (3-0). Gina Cardenas earned the shutout in goal against Auburn while Stephanie Horibe, back from a torn ACL, collected two assists and one goal in the two games combined. Auburn dropped to 1-4-1 with 4 points in league play.