Wolves eye another state berth

It’s always tough to say goodbye to a group of seniors, especially one that helped lead the South Kitsap girls soccer team to four straight Class 4A state tournament berths.  

With the likes of Randee Robinson, Stephanie Milne, Kristine Siler, Lauren Kruzner and so many other seniors long gone from a team that went 13-3-4 overall and 10-1-3 in the Narrows League Bridge Division, and such a mixture of youth coming in, a fifth straight trip would pretty much be out of the question, right?

Think again.

The Wolves may be young this year but a mix of speedy youngsters and experienced veterans have South right on course for a return trip and more.

“I don’t see (youth) as a problem,” South coach Eric Bergeson said. “It’s not uncommon on the girls’ side to see kids at their fastest when they’re in 10th grade. So I don’t have a problem with the youth.

“We don’t have as many seniors and juniors as we usually have,” Bergeson said of his nine upper-classmen. “When all is said and done, we’re going to have plenty of sophomores and a freshman or two.”

That’s really nothing new for the Wolves; it’s just the sheer number of seniors that were on the team last year. Their graduation leaves plenty of holes to fill.

“That’s the tough thing about saying goodbye to such a big group of seniors – they’re hard to replace,” Bergeson said. “I mean, we lost the whole defense. We have the talent and the ability, but the mix of all the new players means we have a lot of work just to get a sense of who’s doing what, when and where.”

But there are a few definites for this year’s team, including the return of seniors Santerra Holler and Erin Carpenter, two Bergeson knows he can build around.

And those two know they’re going to be counted on.    

“We work well together. Our chemistry’s good and we hang out with each other on and off the field,” Carpenter said. “It’s just a big family that supports each other.”

Carpenter will return to the midfield this year while Holler isn’t quite sure just where she’ll end up. She played stopper last year and will most likely be the anchor the defense will be built around.

“We have major players in each area,” Holler said. “We have amazing goalies and our defense is going to be strong and our midfielders can really run and we have forwards that are really good on the ball. We have such strong people in each area, we don’t really have just one thing that’s really any better than anything else. We’re pretty level in all the areas.”

As always, Bergeson’s teams are built around senior leadership and defense. And in Holler, Carpenter and Cassie Brown, he has all of that. And all of that will fit nicely in front of goal keeper C.J. Balstad.

Balstad, a junior, played goalie all summer for a Premier I team and gained valuable experience, Bergeson said. So much so, she enters the year as the team’s stopper in net.

“She really, really separated herself as clearly the top goalie,” Bergeson said.

The Wolves also return Kaitlin Myles, who scored the winning goal against Federal Way that sent South back to the state tournament last year, while both Sarah Milne and Kylie Westerman saw varsity action as well.

So the mixture is there. All they need now is one thing, Holler believes.  

“Motivation,” she said. “These girls work so well on spirit, and if we can keep them pumped up and let them know they can do it, then they will put all their heart into it. We all love soccer. We’re all here because we love soccer, so if we can motivate them and keep them working hard, they’ll do it on their own.”

South opens the year with a pair of non-league home matches against Stadium, which made it to the finals of the state tournament last year despite losing to South 4-0 in a Narrows League cross-over game, and Mountain View before starting league play at Central Kitsap.

And as always, the goal is a fifth straight trip to the state tournament.

“They expect that of themselves,” Bergeson said. “And they know what it takes to get there.”

2005 South Kitsap Girls soccer schedule

Date Opponent Location Time

Sept. 6 Stadium Marcus Whitman 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 9 Mountain View South Kitsap 5 p.m.

Sept. 13 Central Kitsap Silverdale 6:45 p.m.

Sept. 15 Gig Harbor South Kitsap 6:45 p.m.

Sept. 20 Port Angeles Port Angeles 6:45 p.m.

Sept. 22 Bremerton Bremerton 7 p.m.

Sept. 27 Olympic South Kitsap 6:45 p.m.

Sept. 29 North Kitsap Poulsbo 6:45 p.m.

Oct. 4 Shelton South Kitsap 6:45 p.m.

Oct. 6 Central Kitsap Marcus Whitman 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 11 Gig Harbor Gig Harbor 5 p.m.

Oct. 13 Port Angeles Marcus Whitman 5:30 p.m.

Oct. 18 Bremerton South Kitsap 6:45 p.m.

Oct. 20 Olympic Silverdale 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 24 North Kitsap South Kitsap 7 p.m.

Oct. 26 Shelton Shelton 7 p.m.

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