Sports

SK in transition but optimistic

Senior forward Tori Fairweather is one of the few returning Wolves from last year’s team that finished one win away from state. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Senior forward Tori Fairweather is one of the few returning Wolves from last year’s team that finished one win away from state.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

South Kitsap’s girls soccer program faces some significant challenges this season.

Michael Krug is the team’s third coach in four years, and is implementing a new system. And is is the transition itself weren’t enough, the Wolves also graduated a dozen players last season after finishing a win away from state.

Krug, who has been a successful boys club coach in the area for 15 years, takes over after Scott Sodorff and his family decided to move back to Southern California.

And despite South’s inexperience, Krug is excited about the team’s potential.

“I’m happy with the group,” he said, crediting local club programs such as Harbor FC, FC Crush, Washington Premier and West Sound for developing the players during the offseason.

The Wolves finished 11-5-1 in 2007, and ran a defensive-oriented system the last two years that Sodorff felt suited their talent. South lacks experience at defender this year with only senior Alyssa Nystrom returning.

“We just need to gain more confidence,” said Nystrom, who committed to play next year at the University of Montana. ”I think we have the same talent.”

Perhaps the biggest transition will come for the midfielders.

Krug implemented a 4-4-2 system that he said requires constant movement off the ball.

Krug, who guided Westsound FC ’90 boys team to Hawaii for the Farwest Regional Championships in June, said, “It’s a system that’s always creating and exploiting advantages.”

As with many teams transitioning to a new system, it hasn’t come quickly.

South was shut out, 1-0, in its Sept. 8 season opener against Olympic.

The Wolves rebounded Tuesday with a 6-0 nonleague win at Bremerton.

“I think a lot of the girls are used to a three-man front,” he said. “There’s a little bit of holding off like there’s an imaginary wall. Once they get it, they’re going to be very good.”

Krug, who played for the Wolves’ boys soccer team in 1987, acknowledges the transition might be a season-long process.

“You take a couple of steps backward before you progress,” he said. “When you’re implementing a style of play, there’s roles, responsibilities and everybody has to recognize the game. Until they get it, there’s going to be technical breakdowns in some areas. They’re hungry, so that’s great.”

He said the transition should be complete by the time the playoffs begin.

The Wolves last advanced to the state tournament in 2005, Eric Bergeson’s last year as coach.

South hasn’t won a match at state since 2002 and never has advanced beyond the quarterfinals, but Krug expects that - and much more.

“We’re going to be good,” he said. “Our goal is to win state and we’re going to make a run at it.”

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