Bainbridge boys shut out North Kitsap in soccer

Bainbridge broke open a fast-paced, physical match with North Kitsap in the second half, finding the back of the net three times and keeping their own end tidy in a 3-0 victory Thursday.

Junior forward Alexander Taylor and sophomore Damoni Mckenna-Greenawalt’s combination play twiced led to goals for the Spartans, both with Taylor on the finishing end, and senior Ben Robinson added a third tally late in the second half.

North Kitsap had the first bona fide scoring chance, but Bainbridge was eventually able to assert itself in the match.

“North came out pressing hard, and I think we just had to be patient, play our game, move the ball around and wait til we find space,” Bainbridge coach Drew Keller said.

Jonathan Mendoza nearly had the opening score after he forced a turnover and got a partial breakaway. He got a shot off as defenders closed in on him, but missed the net by inches.

Bainbridge had a close call a few minutes later as Mckenna-Greenawalt played a nice ball through the middle to Calvin Moe, who also pushed his shot just wide of the target.

The Vikings had another near-miss early in the second half as sophomore Angel Chavez got free on the left side and looked to put the ball inside the far post. The shot rolled toward goal, out of the reach of the keeper, but again it was wide by mere inches.

“I thought we defended really, really well,” NK coach Greg St. Peter said. “We just couldn’t take care of the ball. We couldn’t relieve that pressure.”

The Vikings were game in their first match of the season, to keep pace with a talented Bainbridge squad despite being short on varsity experience. They received strong performances from Mendoza, who was a force at center-forward, Ryan Anderson and Sam Glass, who made several terrific stops on defense, freshman keeper Justin Anderson, and forward Chavez and midfielder Samuel Van Loon Rojas.

But the Spartans broke through not long after that. Mckenna-Greenawalt’s cross dropped into the middle of the penalty area, and Taylor was there to poke it home to give his team the only a score it ended up needing.

On Bainbridge’s second goal, Toby Bregar worked the ball around to Chris Fowler, who found Mckenna-Greenawalt again on the left sideline. The sophomore wing took a hard shot on net, and North Kitsap’s keeper got a piece of it, but as the ball bounced down, Taylor was in the right spot again to put it home.

Bainbridge was down a couple of players in its second match of the season, but the players who came up from the junior varsity fit in seamlessly.

“There’s excellent leadership on this team, and you see that right away,” Keller said, “bringing those guys into the fold, helping them out. John [Roman], our captain, is just a very mature player, and he sets the tone for the whole group.”

Later in the second half, Tate Werlin collected a loose ball near the left corner flag and teed up a shot for Robinson, who took a long, curling strike that perfectly bounced off the inside of the right post and into the net. Though the Spartans had plenty of energy throughout the evening, that goal drew a huge reaction from the sideline.

“They’re a fun team to coach,” Keller said. “They’re very hard-working; there’s no egos out there.”

Bainbridge is off to a 2-0 start and will get a tough test Tuesday as it heads to Silverdale to face Central Kitsap.

North Kitsap gets a little time to help its young team jell as its next match is April 1 at Bremerton.