Bainbridge sophomore Avery Pujolar was flying down the left sideline at full speed in pursuit of a loose ball. She bounced off a defender trying to cut off her path and kept on motoring to get the ball, cut to the middle and scored.
That goal helped wake up her team, which got off to a slow start in the first half. Pujolar struck two more times in the second half to pick up the hat trick and spark the Spartans to a 5-0 win over Bremerton Tuesday.
“She’s a super-determined, fiery, dynamic player,” Bainbridge coach Katie Drovdahl said.
Bainbridge (2-1) is off to a good start this season with a 3-0 win over North Mason and a close 1-0 loss to Central Kitsap. But the team had yet to play a complete match.
Against Bremerton, Ellie Murray scored the opening goal about 10 minutes into the match, taking a long pass from sophomore Gabby Weis and using her speed to get behind the defense and beat the Knights keeper with a shot into the upper right corner.
But Bremerton had a few close calls over the next 20 minutes. Goalkeeper Ellen Owen had to make a couple of sharp saves to keep her team ahead.
“They had a bunch of chances on goal that could have totally changed the game,” Drovdahl said.
The two teams were starting to get more physical, and there was fire in the eyes of Pujolar as she blew past a defender and scored that goal with three minutes to go in the first half. “We needed to match that physicality, and we weren’t doing that in the first half,” Drovdahl said. “That was our goal at halftime, and they came out and got those two quick goals.”
Just two minutes into the second half, Pujolar was on the receiving end of a nice cross from junior midfielder Sky Henderson, who had to win a race down the right sideline to get possession. Bremerton’s keeper rushed out to play it, but Pujolar was able to pull the ball loose and deposit it into the empty net to give Bainbridge a 3-0 lead.
A couple of minutes after that, Pujolar scored on another long through-ball from freshman Laine Romney to extend the lead to 4-0.
Bainbridge controlled the match from there, as the defense was rarely called upon to sweep away dangerous passes. The Spartans dominated possession and rarely let the Knights through the midfield with any kind of speed.
Midfielder Emily Fox picked up the fifth and final goal for Bainbridge, letting loose a shot from about 20 yards out as she was fading away from the net. It was high enough and long enough to get over the keeper’s head.
“The first half wasn’t quite as strong as we were hoping for, so I was proud of how they came out in the second half,” Drovdahl said.