Loss to Lions a learning experience

Eric Bergeson’s motto is always to win.

But the South Kitsap High School girls soccer coach said he learned more about his team in a 3-1 loss to Bellarmine Thursday than if SK had won the game.

“I would like to be competitive, and we’re going to play to win. But I just wanted a competitive game,” Bergeson said. “I wanted us to be able to compete at that level.”

SK could have tanked after being down 2-0 early in the second half, but the Wolves cut the lead in half on a Brittany Zurn one-timer off a Randee Robinson pass.

But Bellarmine’s Roxy Davis quashed the Wolves’ hope of a tie 15 minutes with a goal to give Bellarmine a 3-1 cushion.

The Wolves, now 1-1 for the season, open Narrows League Bridge Division play with a game at Bremerton Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Bergeson said he saw everything he needed to see from his team.

“I was curious to see what they were made of,” Bergeson said. “I wondered how they’d respond to being behind, how they would respond to losing, how they’d respond to coming out of a game, and what the intensity would be in different situations. I like what I see. They were more intense as the game progressed, and we never quit.”

SK easily could have been up 2-0 after the first 20 minutes.

Three minutes into the game Zurn watched her breakaway shot on goal stymied by Bellarmine keeper Lauren Torres.

Nearly 15 minutes later freshman Cassie Brown had her point-blank range shot shut down by a diving Torres.

Brown was denied again eight minutes later on a breakaway.

SK actually outshot Bellarmine 18-16 but it was Bellarmine that capitalized on errors.

Bellarmine scored its first goal after SK goalkeeper Ricci Kranjcevich opted to throw the ball down the middle of the field.

Unable to clear Bellarmine’s frontline, the Lions’ Kaitlin Hansen quickly settled the ball and caught Kranjcevich out of position on the left side, which allowed her to boot the ball through the the right side.

Bellarmine’s Megan Sweeny pushed the lead to 2-0 on a goal within the first two minutes of the second half.

Though the mental errors hurt, Bergeson said he was proud of his team’s effort.

“We had two breakaways early and the keeper did a really nice job guessing right,” Bergeson said. “Without a doubt, we have some things we need to work on. As a team, we made decisions that put us in a position we shouldn’t have been in.”

At the same time, Bergeson said Bellarmine’s midfield dominated his team on 50-50 balls.

“They were beating us to everything,” he said. “It wasn’t so much a speed issue as it was them anticipating better. The support players were making runs a full step sooner than we were, and we were always (in) recovering (mode).

Trying to make sense out of the game Bergeson said it’s important to celebrate the wins but always learn from the losses.

On Tuesday the Wolves opened their season against Klahowya at Marcus Whitman Junior High with a 11-0 win.

Sophomores Nicole Bussman and Lauren Kruzner each recorded a hat trick for more than half of the team’s goals.

Sophomore sweeper Randee Robinson went coast to coast for the team’s first two goals.

Also getting in on the scoring was Stephanie Solarek, Brown, and Stephanie Milne.

Six different SK players had an assist.

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