Sports

On the Same Page

They’re not the first pair of best friends to captain the South Kitsap soccer team and most likely won’t be the last.

They’re not even close to being the first duo to forge a lasting friendship after first meeting each other on opposite sides of a Port Orchard soccer field, and they won’t the last to do so.

But what does make Erin Carpenter and Santerra Holler stand apart in the long line of South soccer duos is the fact they that their friendship is so genuine for such a distinctly different pair of individuals.

“We’re best friends, and we fight all the time,” Holler said. “We’re like sisters.”

They are sisters, or mother-daughter in some cases, Carpenter says, who come from different backgrounds, have different visions of what their futures may hold but share a bond that really makes them seem like family.

It’s a family that comfortably shares a laugh together, works hard to make their soccer team better and even lets a little jealousy slip in when one has a boyfriend and the other doesn’t.

And it’s a family that isn’t afraid to share a little gossip about each other.

“She complains a lot. It’s amazing,” Holler says of Carpenter. “About everything – why the sky is blue, she’ll complain about why it can’t be pink. She’s a complainer.”

But Carpenter is quick to counter.

“She says she doesn’t like to have her picture taken, but she really does,” Carpenter said. “She likes it. She likes being in the spotlight.”

Both have found their way into the spotlight recently by scoring the team’s first two goals of the year, in a 4-0 season-opening win over Stadium. And after securing a tie with Gig Harbor Thursday night, they have the Wolves off to a 2-0-2 start.

But their off-field, on-field relationship has been working in many different directions, starting last summer.

The pair took it upon themselves to organize practices and put together a team to play indoors, making dozens of phone calls each week to make sure everyone was going to participate.

That gave the core group that makes up this year’s South Kitsap squad a head start of sorts. They’re also the ones who sorted out the frustration of Tuesday’s scoreless tie with Central Kitsap, talking with the team on the back of the bus immediately after the game.

Carpenter said she and Holler, along with fellow captain Cassie Brown, were making sure they focused on why they were so upset at tying CK, then moved to the positive things they accomplished in that game before putting it behind them and enjoying the fact they didn’t lose the game.

“They’re both very worthy captains,” South coach Eric Bergeson said. “They’re both intelligent. Erin is strong-willed; Terra is also, she’s strong-willed and -minded but much more easygoing in demeanor.

“Erin wants to win – she’s determined, she’s focused and she can put up with a lot,” Bergeson said. “She doesn’t mind the coaching, she doesn’t mind the yelling, she doesn’t mind the running but she does mind when her team lets up. They both mind, tremendously, when our team doesn’t achieve its goals.”

And this pair has been working hard to make sure those goals are met, once again by working together.

On the field, especially on corner kicks, they say, there is some kind of magic. During their years playing for FC Kitsap teams, they would score almost at will on corner kicks, with Holler somehow finding Carpenter with a perfect pass that seemed to always find the back of the net.

“It’s the weirdest thing,” Holler said. “We can find each other on the field, we know how each other runs and passes.”

“We think the same,” Carpenter said. “It’s almost like I can hear her in my head.”

Both Carpenter, a senior midfielder, and Holler, a senior defender, have been putting in the work necessary both on and off the field. Carpenter carries a 3.9 GPA, is a member of the SK athletic medicine team and will pursue a degree in some kind of medical field.

Holler is a 3.4 GPA student who balances classroom work with year-round sports.

Carpenter’s athletic career will come to an end at the same time the Wolves’ soccer season finishes, while Holler will go on to play indoor and club soccer and hopes to play in college.

Her coach is happy to hear that.

“She’s a player,” Bergeson said. “And she’s only going to get better. With year-round training and quality coaching, all of it, she’s just going to get better. She has the tools and she has the understanding of the game and the touch.”

And don’t be surprised to see the pair as roommates at Colorado State or San Diego State next year. Carpenter wants to attend school outside of Washington and Holler is looking to do the same.

“I’m applying to all the schools that she is,” said Holler, who plans to study business. “We’d like to go to the same school together.”

It seems the pair will extend this friendship beyond Port Orchard.

“I think they have a genuine love for each other. I think they really care about each other,” Bergeson said. “They have a lot in common and they both take a great deal of pride in the things that they do academically and athletically. I think they push each other. And that’s great.”

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