The Spartans hadn’t conceded a goal or trailed in any of their first three matches of the season, but found themselves behind early against North Kitsap on Tuesday evening.
But Bainbridge was able to wear down a short-handed Vikings squad with their speed and persistence as they tied the match in the first half and then struck twice in the second to walk out of North Kitsap Stadium with a 3-1 victory.
Damoni Mckenna-Greenawalt scored twice and junior captain John Roman added a goal and an assist as the team improved to 4-0 on the season.
“We knew if we kept our heads in the game and play our game that the chances would come,” Bainbridge coach Drew Keller said. “I’m proud of the boys for just keeping their composure out there. Just a lot of fantastic performances all over the field.”
The Vikings had a great combination play in the eighth minute that led to the game’s first goal. The referee allowed play to continue as North Kitsap got the advantage, and Sam Glass picked up a loose ball and sent a cross to Samuel Van Loon Rojas, who one-timed a quick shot under the crossbar for the score.
“The adjustments we made from last time were really good,” North Kitsap coach Greg St. Peter said. “We had a great game plan; it was working great in the first half.”
Unfortunately, North Kitsap lost Van Loon Rojas to an injury as he spent the second half with a bag of ice bandaged to him. That left the Vikings with just one substitute, and they were already missing several starters.
Four minutes later, Mckenna-Greenawalt executed the give-and-go with Roman, who took a hard shot that was saved by keeper Justin Anderson. But Mckenna-Greenawalt was all over the rebound and tucked it home to tie the match.
Bainbridge’s fleet-footed forwards kept the pressure on North Kitsap throughout the second half and finally got a break in the 64th minute. The Vikings were called for a foul in the penalty area to the displeasure of the North Kitsap sideline. Roman stepped in to take the penalty kick and was cool, calm and collected as he hit the lower right corner for a goal.
“He’s just a very composed player and person in general,” Keller said. “We’re lucky he’s only a junior.”
Five minutes later, the speedy Mckenna-Greenawalt took a sweet feed from Aiden Parish and struck a beautiful ball for his second goal of the match.
Keller said the team got solid performances all over the field and singled out, among others, junior Toby Bregar, who played center-forward and was tasked with occupying the attention of North Kitsap’s star central defender Ryan Anderson, who made a number of outstanding sweeps in the game.
“It’s really fun to coach a team with this much talent,” Keller said.
Bainbridge’s schedule ramps up as they have two more matches this week — they face Central Kitsap at home Thursday and Bremerton at home Saturday — and then three more to close out the season. The final home game is April 24 against Olympic.
”At this point, they’re coming into this right off their club season, so they’re fit, they’re ready; it’s just about maintenance,” Keller said.
Bainbridge 3, North Kitsap 1
BI 1 2 — 3
NK 1 0 — 1
First half — NK, Samuel Van Loon Rojas (Sam Glass), 8th; BI, Damoni Mckenna-Greenawalt (John Roman), 12th.