By ROB SHORE
BREMERTON, Wash. — It might not have been the finish the Kitsap Pumas wanted — falling short of the postseason assured this would be the case in any event — but it was a finish the Pumas could at least look back on with fondness.
Tomas Jamett scored the equalizer in the 81st minute as the Pumas closed out the season with a 1-1 draw against Spokane SC Shadow on Saturday night at Gordon Field.
It was no less than the Pumas deserved on a night where they controlled the run of play, especially a second half where they produced 10 shots.
“I thought it was a good performance,” he said. “I thought we gave a good account of ourselves. The goal coming in was to make sure we ended on a high note and gave a good account of ourselves and I thought we did that.”
Similarly, Jamett’s first goal of the season — a volley coming on a cross from Jorge Ruiz — was no less than he deserved after a season that saw him emerge as one of Kitsap’s most threatening attackers, though the net eluded him until this finale.
“It was satisfying to finally get (a goal),” Jamett said. “I’ve been looking for it all season, I couldn’t get it. I was unlucky a couple of time, I hit the post a couple of times. Finally, I got it now.”
The draw saw Kitsap (4-5-3, 15 points) close out the season in third place in the NPSL Northwest Conference Division, just outside of the playoff places.
The Shadow (7-0-5, 26 points) wrapped up an unbeaten regular season and will host a first-round playoff game against the division runner-up FC Mulhouse Portland.
Spokane came into the contest with a side that did not feature some of the players who had big matches against Kitsap earlier this season, including Jake Levine and former Pumas Mike Ramos and Nick Hamer.
Marc Girones had a solid night in goal for Kitsap, notching four saves — . But he couldn’t do anything about Chase Veidt’s strike from a corner kick in the 66th minute.
The corner kick actually came to Mac Lyle, who tried to head the ball away from danger. But Lyle’s attempted clearance fell right to Veidt just outside the penalty box, and Veidt volleyed a laser into the top corner.
Girones actually got a hand on the shot, but only to graze the ball as it went into the netting.
“Of course, the ball lands perfectly for their guy to hit a volley from outside the box into the top corner,” Bird said with a hint of frustration.
The Spokane goal came somewhat against the run of play during a second half that was among Kitsap’s best performances of the season as Ruiz combined with Jamett and Alex Hernandez to provide a constant threat.
The Pumas then got their late equalizer as Ruiz found Jamett with a looping cross to the left side.
“We’ve been waiting for Tomas to score for a while,” Bird said. “He’s been so close, so close, and then finally he gets one. So I’m happy for him. It’s kind of a mark of how our season has gone that it takes him all season to get it when he’s been so dangerous all year.”