Sports

It's a team thing

In most ways, Lauren Gehring is just like any other high school senior. She plays sports, likes to hang out with her friends and shrugs off compliments with a quick, blushing smile.

But in an age where many athletes are geared towards themselves and personal achievement, she stands apart from the masses as she leads the South Kitsap girls soccer team towards a berth in the state playoffs.

A consummate team player, Gehring leads by example and had garnered the respect of both her coaches and teammates.

“First and foremost, she is an outstanding young lady,” SK coach Eric Bergeson said. “She’s the kind of person you want to be around. She’s the type of person you want to have as a friend, and the type of person you’d want your daughter to be like.”

It’s those type of compliments that draw the quick smile and make the eyes dart to the ground.

But it is her play as the Wolves’ midfielder this season that is drawing her the most compliments.

Going into Tuesday’s showdown with Central Kitsap, Gehring has led SK to a 10-1 overall mark and has her team in a first-place tie in the Bridge Division of the Narrows League at 8-1.

She’s scored nine goals and dished out six assists in 11 games and does all the little things that make her team go.

“I’d say she’s a student of the game,” Bergeson said. “She does whatever it takes to make this team win. She is consistently doing all the things you’d ask of her, without having to ask her.”

It was been her unselfish play that Bergeson points to. Like the game last week against Port Angeles in which Gehring passed up what Bergeson called a “sure goal” by drawing the defense to her before passing the ball to a teammate for an easy score.

“Soccer is a team game, not an individual game,” Gehring said. “It’s more fun when everyone is involved, and I like to have fun.”

Gehring, who has been playing soccer since she was eight years old and has been playing varsity since her freshman year, said she has benefited from the addition of Bergeson as coach.

Bergeson, who has been coaching the SK boys team, took over dual coaching duties last year.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” Gehring said. “He demands a lot from us. I’ve been lucky in having two great coaches this year, and I learn a lot from both of them.”

Gehring also plays club select soccer but sees a distinctive difference in both.

“I get to score (for SK),” she laughed. “I play mostly defense for the club team and maybe score a goal a year. Over here, I’ve gotten more chances to score, and that’s been fun.”

Bergeson has also benefited from having an extra coach out on the field.

“She’s got soccer in her blood,” Bergeson said. “She knows the game and knows where to be on the field. She’ll do whatever it takes to help this team. She motivates others in such a positive way and she’s fiercely loyal.

“The big thing is she is so unselfish, she wants everyone to get involved,” Bergeson said. “With her, it’s not about personal achievement, it’s about doing your personal best.”

Which includes the classroom, Bergeson said.

“She gets good grades, and I think that is key,” he said. “It helps her on the field, knowing what’s going on, where to be, what to do.

“She’s been playing soccer her whole life and there’s no burnout,” Bergeson said. “She has such an easy-going attitude but at the same time, she’s ultra-competitive.”

That competitive drive will continue on after life at South Kitsap, Gehring said. She wants to, and plans to, play collegiate soccer.

“I will definitely play somewhere,” Gehring said. “Whether I get a scholarship or have to walk on, I’ll play.”

Which means the compliments will continue on, whether she wants them to or not.

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