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Kickers grab playoff impetus
"Call it the Senior Farewell Effect.Fueled by an emotional pre-game farewell ceremony for the Bainbridge High School girls' soccer team's eight departing seniors - Maegen Beattie, Alice Bischoff, Anna-Lisa Breiland, Lisa Earnest, Sarah Fowler, Lauren Hume, Suzanne Replinger and Courtney Walker - the Spartans took some much-needed momentum into next week's playoffs with a sparkling 1-0 victory against North Kitsap on Thursday night.Coupled with Bainbridge's 3-2 win over Bremerton Tuesday, the Spartans ended their regular season with an 8-6-2 record, good for 23 points and fifth place in the Olympic League, heading into next Thursday's 7 p.m. West Central District loser-out postseason contest at North Mason.I was so nervous, said Replinger, admitting to the Farewell Effect. But it had to happen like this. It's the pride.Pride as well as performance carried Bainbridge in both games. Against Bremerton, a 4-12 squad that gave the Spartans a surprisingly tough time, the Spartans dug down deep for a fantastic finish.Junior Crisma Biggs opened the scoring in the 36th minute on a pass from Christen Faltermeier before Bremerton tied midway through the second half, leading to a frantic flurry of three scores in the final seven minutes of play.Faltermeier, dribbling past Knight defenders on the left wing on a pass from freshman Adriana Gonzalez-Medina, slotted the ball home in the 73rd minute. Bremerton retaliated almost instantly, but the Spartans won the game when junior Courtney McFarlane took a right-side cross from Emily Haber and drilled the ball into the net with less than four minutes left on the clock.There was equal drama but less offense against North Kitsap - a team that easily handled the Spartans on its home pitch less than a month before by a 2-0 score.Buoyed by a strong fan turnout and hug-filled farewell ceremony, Bainbridge got the jump on the 11-5 Vikings when Lindsay Carlson beat Viking keeper Lacey Cooper to a cross pass from Gonzales-Medina. Though the Vikings came back to dominate the second half, the score held up, giving Bainbridge a rare and emotional win over a top-notch 4A opponent.I don't know that we played over our heads - I think we played our best, Bainbridge coach Susan Fowler said. Our hope is that we can continue to play like this - the way we know how to play - more consistently. We are capable of playing really strong games.After this week, the Spartans themselves need no more convincing.I really hope we can make it back to state, Replinger said, referring to last year's team, which advanced through district into the 16-team state tournament. Maybe even deeper into the Sweet Sixteen.North Kitsap 1, Bainbridge JV 0: A streak so mythological - and mundane -that it was never actually measured came to an end Thursday night, as coach Helen Hendrickson's team lost its first regular-season game in as many as four years Thursday night.The last game I remember losing was a preseason game a couple of season ago to Seattle Prep, said Hendrickson, in her fourth season at the Spartan JV helm. But my feeling is, it doesn't really matter. Let's move on to something else.The Spartans may have lost by using up their season's allotment of offense two nights before against the Bremerton JV in a 9-1 win. Elizabeth Montoya, Sushi Speidel and Morgan Zajonc each scored two goals, while Sarah Esvelt, Amanda Johncock and Kela Martinez added one goal apiece. "