SK out-muscling its opponents

Bruised and battered, the Central Kitsap High School girls soccer team walked off the Marcus Whitman Junior High field knowing they played one of the most physical teams in the Narrows League in South Kitsap.

Shelton quickly learned of SK’s punishing, but was also introduced to possibly the best defense in the league as well.

The Wolves scored four of its five goals in the first half of its 5-0 win at Shelton Thursday night.

Bergeson said the scored did not indicate how tough a challenge Shelton posed.

“They were very fast,” Bergeson said. “We barely outshot them (17-15) but our defense was as good as it has been all season.”

Bergeson praised the defensive efforts of Alex Michael, Karla Myles, and Emilee Ashby for its stifling defense.

“They didn’t let any shots on goal from within 18 (yards),” he said. “And Ricci (Kranjcevich) was awesome in goal.”

Four different SK players scored a goal, with Lauren Kruzner leading the way with two goals.

Against Central Kitsap, SK freshman forward Cassie Brown scored two of SK’s three goals in a 3-0 Bridge Division win Tuesday.

Brown opened the scoring with a breakaway goal in the 12th minute to give SK a 1-0 lead at the half.

After 20 minutes of jousting in the second half, SK’s Lauren Gehring settled a loose ball off a corner kick and arched a ball over CK goalkeeper Emily Zygmontowicz to give SK a 2-0 lead with 20 minutes to play.

Brown, off a beautiful pass created by Stephanie Milne, gave the Wolves insurance in the 72nd minute with a cross-field shot that caught Zygmontowicz leaning the opposite direction.

While the SK offense scored enough to win, the theme of the match was fitness and brawn.

Led by sophomore sweeper Randee Robinson, the Wolves proved to be the aggressor offensively and defensively.

CK’s Kaitlin Poppe and Nicole Zygmontowicz were hurt in collisions with Robinson but they were able to return later in the game. Robinson earned one yellow card and had her share of fouls called, but coaches on both sides agreed no one was playing dirty.

“We play a good physical style of soccer,” Bergeson said. “Randee really set the tone. Many of the calls against Randee was a matter of her putting her arms up. She has to protect her upper body.”

SK’s fitness showed in the final 20 minutes of the game.

CK had a couple of legitimate attacks on goal early in the second half, but by the 60th minute it was SK that was dictating play on the field.

“I definitely think we were more fit,” Bergeson said. “In the last 20 minutes we had the ball in on our net.”

CK coach Vicky Webb said not having starters Bethany Daniel (left forward) and Tricia Hobaugh in the lineup (illness) hurt the chemistry of the team.

Between that and Zygmontowicz’ knee not at full strength (85 percent),

Webb said the team’s next encounter with South Kitsap will be different.

“They’re very disappointed because they know a lot of the girls on the team. But we’ll be back ready to play them again.”

Bergeson said he’s been thrilled with the contributions made by his players coming off the bench.

Not having to worry about his players’ fitness makes for more strategic substitutions instead of giving a player a quick breather.

“I have no doubt that all my players could go 80 minutes with no problem,” Bergeson said. “We make up a lot of ground with our fitness but we’re deep.”

Players such as Emily Shapley, Stephanie Mott, and Milne, though young don’t give up any speed when they replace a teammate on the field, Bergeson said.

“We don’t lose any up front speed,” he said. “These women have developed their game on all parts of the field.”

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