"However it ends, Wolves' coach proud of his team"
June 12, 2008 · Updated 2:10 PM
"When the spring season started two months ago, South Kitsap High School boys soccer coach Eric Bergeson said he knew the challenges that lay ahead for his young team full of mostly underclassmen.After losing a large chunk of starters from last year's squad - coupled with the loss of five to six contributing players prior to and during this season because of disciplinary reasons - Bergeson said he's proud that his team made it as far as last year's team, which fell one game short of a district berth.SK was coming off a 1-0 win against Capital in a loser-out Narrows League playoff game heading into Monday's loser-out game against Wilson.Results of the game against Wilson were unavailable at press time.Win or lose though, Bergeson said he couldn't be prouder of his team.After falling to 2-6 on the season, the Wolves had two weeks off to reorganize and rededicate themselves to the season.That mental preparation clearly paid off as the team went 3-1-1 going into the Wilson game.Bergeson said his team grew up immeasurably in the second half of the season.I'm extremely pleased with the soccer they're playing, he said after the win against Capital. What I saw out there today was a more classy game of soccer. I'm more pleased with the mental toughness.From the decision to start freshman Robbie Robinson at sweeper to getting his sophomores and juniors varsity-ready, Bergeson said it has been a challenge instilling the mental game of soccer.In the second half of the season we had guys knocking each other down in practice without feeling bad about it, he said. Rather than sit there and cry and wonder why someone put you on your butt, they all got after it. They are far more bloodthirsty now then they were in the beginning. We still have a long ways to go.The Wolves entered their game against the Rams in the same predicament as last year's veteran-dominated team.They had to go through Capital to earn a game against Wilson, which has never lost to SK.Bergeson said he liked his team's chances against Wilson as long as they played as physical as they did against Stadium two weeks ago, and took advantage of all opportunities.Against Capital, SK was clearly the dominant team even though it only scored one goal.Bergeson put junior Chad Ashby up front to utilize his speed and it worked from the start.Only two minutes into the game Ashby was the recipient of a cross-pass from Justin Lillybridge.Ashby put his head on the ball and directed downward in the goal for the score.That proved to be the only scoring of the game, though SK had more than 20 shots on goal.Justin made a great run out of the backfield, made a cross, and Chad headed it straight down, just like you're supposed to. "