Wolves to depend on workman-like attitude for success

Eric Bergeson refuses to label the 2003 boys soccer season as a rebuilding year.

His South Kitsap High School team lost 10 players off of last year’s state-qualifying squad to graduation, but what the seventh-year coach has this year is an equally split mixture of experience and inexperience.

What Bergeson will not do is make any predictions this early in the season.

After opening the season yesterday at Capital without a full squad, Bergeson said he will reserve judgement until has seen more of his team.

“The guys are still learning to play together and the weather has made it challenging to really analyze their talent,” Bergeson said. “I think their strength is going to be their work ethic. They know games are won here at practice.”

Bergeson said the key to having the team mesh starts with senior leadership.

Jason Boyett and Hiram Davis have been named co-captains for this year’s squad, and Bergeson said he likes what he sees out of their leadership two weeks into the season.

“Boyett is a hard worker and a great leader,” Bergeson said. “He leads more by example. Hiram played quite a bit last time and he’s developed into a fine player.”

Boyett and Davis will be looked upon to help anchor the defense, along with junior stopper Robbie Robinson.

Senior Matt Hopper will be relied upon for his versatility. Bergeson said his speed is a perfect match with the defensive midfield position. He could also see some time as a forward.

Seniors Nick Fruner and Brendan Sweglar, both key contributors on offense last year, return to make a formidable front line.

Junior Konnar Kaio-Maddox, who split time between varsity and junior varsity last year, will add value to SK’s offensive push.

Bergeson said he has two new seniors in the program in Ryan Sweet, a transfer from Mississippi, and Kevin Colby.

“Sweet has a lot of potential,” Bergeson said. “He’s new to the system so it will take some time to gel. Kevin will be a role player off the bench. He’s a team player who’s willing to do anything to contribute to the program. He’s also the fastest kid we have.”

Senior Doug Lyman earned his stripes at the junior varsity level and will step in to solidify SK’s defensive front.

Other newcomers to the varsity team this year include juniors Ryan Schurr, Jeff Cink, and John Van Geelkerken.

“Schurr was a standout on junior varsity last year and could see some time this year,” Bergeson said. “Cink will be a starting marking back. He’s got good size and he’s a big strong kid. Van Geelkerken has some wheels and a powerful right leg. He’s a natural right midfielder.”

Loaded with seniors and juniors, Bergeson said the lone sophomore who could make a big contribution is forward Tyler Penn. “Penn has made the most improvement as far as varsity guys,” he said. “If he can stay humble and realize how much hard work it takes I can see him accomplishing a lot.”

Bergeson has security at the goalkeeper position.

Back after a one-year hiatus is senior Jared Stevenson, who currently holds the starting job.

“Stevenson came out after the third practice but he has come out and has a hunger to be the starting goalkeeper,” Bergeson said. “Austin Stacy is the back-up goalie, but the two will compete for playing time.”

Bergeson has a third goalkeeper in Benny Karnes, a player with a work ethic he hopes the rest of his team emulates.

“Benny is probably the hardest working year-round soccer player,” he said. “He goes to all the camps and is technically sound. If we all work as hard as Benny does — and I think they will — we’re going to win some games this year.”

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