Kickers start over again with new coach

Members of the Bainbridge girls soccer team warm up at practice Thursday.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Members of the Bainbridge girls soccer team warm up at practice Thursday.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Scott Druker takes the reins as Spartans ready for 2007 season.

Scott Druker isn’t one to just stand on the sidelines and direct traffic.

The newly appointed head coach of the Bainbridge girls soccer team can be seen out on the field mixing it up with players at practice, exhorting his charges and looking great – even though “they’ve been working out and I’ve been sitting on my butt for most of the summer,” he said with a laugh.

Druker is the third coach in three years for the Spartans but he inherits a team with some talent eager to do well for the 2007 season.

Last year under Anh Tran, who moved from the boys soccer team to take over for departed coach Mark Grindrod, the team went 9-7-1, but fell short in the Metro League tournament.

Their downfall was injuries to numerous players which killed their offense – they scored just two goals in their last five games.

They lost ten players to graduation – including top goal scorers Zena Hemmen and Caitlyn Salo, midfielder Maureen Callahan and much of their defense in Lindsey and Adrienne Montoya, Emily Peters, Heather Peck (now at Coastal Carolina University) and Ryan McDonald.

Tran also moved on, retiring to take a teaching position at Kingston High School.

But Druker, the longtime coach of the JV boys soccer team and the coach for the JV girls soccer team for the past few years, is eager to put his own stamp on the team.

“As far as an overall coaches’ perspective and view and thinking about philosophies, I feel I’ve got a pretty good handle on that,” he said. “So I’ll start my growing at the varsity level. That’s where my learning curve will begin.”

He’ll bring a change in his personality and how he approaches everything (“Fun is at the top of my list,”) and a different style of play.

“Tran is a type of guy who likes to keep things close,” he said. “Maybe get a goal in there and then hold the fort. Not that that style’s bad, but I want them defending what I’m doing.

“I want to be always attacking. I don’t want to be on our heels.”

Senior forward Ashley Waplinger, a four-year member of the varsity squad, admitted they had some problems with Tran’s coaching style last season, but they’ve felt much more comfortable around Druker.

“I think it’s a good change,” she said. “He does really well in communicating with us and he has some good ideas.”

Druker, a math teacher at Bainbridge, is a 1987 graduate of BHS as well.

He wrestled, ran for the cross country team and played soccer and football during his time at the high school.

“I don’t have a real deep, deep experience with the girls but I do have deep experience in soccer,” he said. “I’ve been through the program and I’ve seen all ages come up with the freshmen and the JV and now the varsity.”

He’ll inherit a team with plenty of potential.

13 players come back from last year’s team including senior co-captains Waplinger and Lucy Donohue.

Waplinger is a two-time All-Metro first team selection.

Also returning are seniors Kristen Saksa, Annie Johns, Kathryn Devereaux, Dina Singer and Lauren Ginder, juniors Alex Mynatt, Lauren Tyner and Jesse Vincent and sophomores Maddie Ginder, Devon Denis and Melissa Hoshizaki.

Hoshizaki (who is recovering from a broken leg) and Ginder were All-Metro honorable mentions last season.

Although he hasn’t had much time with the players to fully gauge how things will play out, Druker is excited at how they look so far.

“We’ve got some good legs on the team,” he said. “A lot of girls can go with both feet.

“The cross (passes) have been excellent. They’re really putting the ball in the right spot.”

He’s also impressed with the leadership skills the co-captains have shown during tryouts and their ability to play anywhere on the field.

“Both players (Waplinger and Donohue) are very versatile,” Druker said. “They’re very familiar with all the positions.”

Druker said he’ll use Waplinger and Donohue at the forward spots.

Johns and Devereaux take the middle defensive spots, while Maddie, Lauren and Mynatt return to midfield, with Mynatt playing a midfield/forward position.

Vincent and Denis return as goalkeepers.

“I think we’re solid in several positions,” Druker said. “I don’t think we have any holes.

“We have some spots to fill, but we have some veterans on defense, we have some veterans at the middies and we have some veterans at the top, so I feel really good about it.”

As far as finding players to score goals, Druker said they won’t have one superstar that can score at will, but a myriad of players that can put the ball in the net when needed, such as Waplinger, Mynatt and a newcomer in transfer student Kelsey Thompson.

“One thing I like about this team is that they play unselfish,” he said. “We’re pretty well balanced.”

Also stepping onto the varsity scene are Mariko Wolf, Hallie Swan, Lauren Silvers, Haylee Baker, Lauren Silvers and Anastasia Tschida.

Druker feels they all can contribute to the team.

“I see ourselves as pretty well balanced,” he said. “Which is great. You can have a better team that way.”

They’ll need that balance in case the injury bug strikes again.

Bainbridge will also face several contenders in Seattle Prep, a state finalist last year, along with Eastside Catholic, Bishop Blanchet, Holy Names and Nathan Hale, but Druker said he’s excited just to get going.

“It’s still soccer,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of girls that have good attitudes and love to play, so it’s great.”

Bainbridge starts their season against North Kitsap in Poulsbo next Tuesday, then play at Central Kitsap Thursday.

They face Chief Sealth in their home opener next Friday at 5:15 p.m.

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