Wolves pull a fast one on Bremerton

Coach Eric Bergeson got just what he wanted — and needed — out of his South Kitsap High girls soccer team Thursday night. And then some.

Needing a victory over Bremerton to keep pace atop the tight Bridge Division of the Narrows League standings, the Wolves took advantage of superior team speed to post an 8-0 win over the Knights. And while the win may not have been a surprise, junior forward Nicole Bussman provided Bergeson and her teammates with one, scoring a career-high four goals.

“Nicole has always been a threat as an offensive player,” Bergeson said. “But the bottom line is she wants to be a good all-around player. I’m impressed with what she did out there.”

Bussman, who had two goals coming into the match, scored a pair in each half. The final two, coming just two minutes apart mid-way through the second half, spelled the end of her evening.

“We had great opportunities in this game and we took advantage of them,” said Bussman, who also had an assist. “Everybody went out there and relaxed, and if the opportunities were there, we’d try to take them. We had some good through balls that set up some one-on-ones.”

Three of those “good through balls” came off the foot of Stephanie Solarek, who notched assists on three of Bussman’s scores.

“Three assists in one game, that’s great for her,” Bergeson said. “I like to see us making things happen.”

The Wolves, now 7-1 overall and 5-1 in league play, wasted little time making things happen, scoring in the sixth minute of the game as Cassie Brown made a nifty pass to set up an Alex Michael goal.

Bussman scored a minute later of an assist from Lauren Gehring.

“We wanted to come out, get that first goal and get settled down,” Bergeson said. “We told the girls, “It’s not about scoring five goals tonight, it’s about scoring the first goal.’ ”

Brown made it 3-0 with 15 minutes left in the first half, and the rout was on. But that’s when the Wolves turned up the heat and used their speed to stifle any attack the Knights could muster.

“We don’t want the level of play to go down at anytime,” Bergeson said. “We want to try to stay consistent and build on that.”

South Kitsap did just that, as the speed of senior defenders Naomi Burt, Kristine Siler and Karla Myles along with junior Stephanie Milne took away any threat that managed to cross midfield. That made for an easy night in goal for Ricci Kranjcevich, who saw just a handful of shots and stopped them all for her fourth shutout of the season.

Defensively, Burt, Siler, Myles and Milne shut down the sidelines and caught up with every ball that happened to find its way through the middle, running down Knight after Knight and taking the ball away from them.

“Our marking backs played outstanding,” Bergeson said. “I really liked the fact we didn’t have any letdowns out there. I’m proud of the way the ladies played.”

Bussman scored her two second-half goals just two minutes apart, then was pulled from the game.

Sophomore Mikayla Shdo closed out the scoring, knocking in her first varsity goal with three minutes remaining in the game.

“You never know what to expect out of a game like this but I know one thing,” Bergeson said. “It doesn’t matter if its the boys or the girls, you don’t see a Bremerton team quit and I’m impressed with that. It’s a credit to their coaches and their players. They played us hard right to the end.”

South Kitsap’s junior varsity set the tone for the evening, downing the Bremerton JV 8-0 also. Kelsey Penn, Jamie Boyer and Alex Fairweather scored two goals each while goalkeeper C.J. Balstad recorded the shutout.

The Wolves, tied for first in the division standings, travel to Port Angeles Tuesday for a 6:45 p.m. kickoff.

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