EVERETT — Kamiak coach Kosta Pitharoulis admitted through the years a trip to Goddard Stadium to face 4A Wesco rival Mariner often produced a lackluster effort from his Knights.
Kamiak wanted to make sure that didn’t happen this time.
Knights junior forward Andre’ Hamilton opened the scoring with the first of his two goals in the 16th minute and expressively pointed to Goddard Stadium’s turf, signaling that Friday night Kamiak was there to play.
“Over the years when we have come out and played these guys, it’s been their intensity and our lack of intensity,” Pitharoulis said. “So tonight I thought we really matched the excitement Mariner typically has playing against us and exceeded it, and that is what we were going for.”
Mariner created more scoring opportunities, flashing its abundance of athleticism, but Kamiak’s effort countered the Marauders’ attack, and Hamilton displayed his impressive speed in notching two goals to help the Knights earn a 2-1 league win Friday night at Goddard Stadium.
The win kept Kamiak (4-0-0, 1-0-0) undefeated, while the loss was Mariner’s first of the year.
“Overall the guys are coming together nicely,” Pitharoulis said. “I think they just picked up where they left off last year. The taste in their mouth that was from the last loss of the year last year was a difficult one, and they have high hopes for this year.”
Both Kamiak and Mariner engineered scoring chances early, but it was the blazing speed of Hamilton combined with a cool finish that gave the Knights a 1-0 advantage in the 16th minute.
The Mariner defense lost track of Hamilton, who got behind the backline with the ball at his feet. With only Marauders goalkeeper Brihan Castaneda to beat, Hamilton put a shot into the bottom-left side of the net from 15 yards out.
“The first one is huge,” Pitharoulis said, “especially in this cross-town rivalry, because there are nerves.”
Mariner forward Bakary Dibba nearly evened the score six minutes later with one-on-one situation with Kamiak keeper Jesus Gary, but Gary made an excellent save. Dibba’s shot ricocheted off the goalie’s leg, who was charging hard to close down the shot angle.
But in the 30th minute, Dibba made up for his miss with a brilliant individual effort.
The senior forward made a nice one-on-one move against a Kamiak defender down the right side to create enough open space to take a shot on goal, and from 15 yards out Dibba blasted a shot past Gary and into the back of the net.
Hamilton helped Kamiak respond in the 52nd minute, but this time teammate Soren Pehlivanian set him up with an easy tap-in off a beautifully placed cross. The score gave the Knights a 2-1 lead, and despite several chances during the final 20 minutes, Mariner was unable to equalize.
“I don’t know what it was, if (we) overplayed things or whatever,” Mariner coach Vince DeSimone said. “It was like we kind of choked more tonight. Before we haven’t done that. We have played these guys many, many times before and no problem, but tonight I don’t know what it was.”