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Kickers want to see continued success in Metro
But club must replace 11 seniors from last year’s team.
There will be many changes for the Bainbridge boys’ soccer team this season – 11 to be exact.
That’s how many seniors the Spartans lost from last year’s team.
Chief among them was four-year letterman and perennial All-Metro and All-Kitsap County first team selection Jimmy Baggett. He, alongside fellow Metro League and Kitsap County standouts Sam Mutty, Ben Van Drunen, Austin Clement, David Zimmerman, Charlie Von Reis and Chandler Foster are gone via graduation.
They formed a solid group that led the team to a Mountain Division title and qualified twice for the 3A state tournament in their time at Bainbridge.
“It’s a completely different chemistry,” fifth-year head coach George Vukic said of the changes. “The whole engine of the team has been swapped out. Since there’s been such a big swap out in personalities, we can’t really pick up where we left off like we did in prior years.”
Last season they were ranked for much of the season, but were upset by Nathan Hale in the semifinals of the league tournament and eliminated by Seattle Prep in the play-in game for state.
Still, the Spartans may be talented enough to get another shot at the state tournament with several experienced returnees, including seniors in forward Alex Raquer, midfielder Brad Olson, defenders Joe McKenzie and Will Deveraux, and goalkeeper Nic Miller. Junior forward Connor Winship and sophomore midfielder Michael Crowley are expected to be key contributors.
Raquer led the team in points while he and Winship tied for the team lead in goals with nine each. Miller, who played part time in goal last season, will be the starter at that position.
Several newcomers who will see time on the field include senior midfielder Matt Parker, senior forwards Ben Holland and Jack Forbes, junior midfielder Deverau Kesler, sophomore forward Sebastian Scales, sophomore defender Jesse Moore and freshman defender Campbell Queen.
Vukic said the team will have a quality midfield. Olson, Crowley, Raquer and Parker are tabbed to start.
“They’re strong,” Vukic said. “They’re smart and they’re creative. They are skilled in distributing (passes) to players and ball control. They have a good blend of skills.”
He also felt that the defense with McKenzie and Deveraux will be solid as will the forwards with Raquer and Winship leading the way, but also said it may take some time before things come together for the Spartans. Nine players are playing different positions than they did last season.
“We’re starting almost literally from scratch,” Vukic said.
He said he also expects a battle from every team in the always-tough Metro League.
“It has grown in strength every year,” he said. “You can be a good team and lose every game.”
Bainbridge got off to a good start on the season with a 2-0 win over Lakeside Tuesday in Seattle.
Raquer and Scales scored while Miller got the shutout in goal.
Bainbridge travels to Nathan Hale Friday, then host O’Dea at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Goalkeeper Nic Miller defends a corner kick at practice Monday.
John Becerra Jr./Staff Photo