Sports

Kickers advance with 3-0 win

"Suzanne Replinger has been one of the Bainbridge High School girls' soccer team's top scorers the past three seasons.So she was understandably frustrated and puzzled with her inability to punch the ball into the back of net for most of Thursday's loser-out playoff contest at North Mason.Time and time again, the senior striker came up short. In the first 14 minutes alone, she missed a point-blank blast after the ball popped loose from the Bulldog keeper's hands from a teammate's shot. She punched another, deeper drive high and wide over the crossbar. She seared yet another shot just wide right on a high-step strike.Finally, 20 minutes into the first half, she hit the bench in favor of a substitute, muttering darkly about a moving goal.I was really frustrated, she said. All those shots were goals I knew I could have gotten.By the second half, however, Replinger had regained her composure - and eventually, her luck. Just six minutes after booming another open shot high and wide, she took a perfect lead pass from junior Lindsay Carlson one step ahead of a North Mason defender and drilled a laser beam of a left cross into the back of the net with 12:01 left to play.It turned out to all the Spartans needed - but far from all they got - as Bainbridge advanced for a second straight season into the West Central District 3A playoffs with a 3-0 victory.The team will play at Fife, loser of a Thursday contest with White River, today at 2 p.m.I wasn't as much frustrated as determined by that point, Replinger said of her score. I knew that if I wound up getting three good shots on goal but our team lost the game, that would be pretty tough to live with.Teammate Lauren Hume, whose score just two minutes later on a short pass from Fab Rezayat gave Bainbridge a crucial insurance goal - before Rezayat closed out the run with an unassisted goal of her own in the last minute - echoed Replinger's determination.We got a slow start in the first half, but we came together really well after a motivational talk, the senior midfielder said. Hume also said North Mason's physical style of play proved to be a late benefit for Bainbridge.Due to their lack of skill, they made it up with aggressive play, to play up to our level, she said. But once they got frustrated, we were able to go even harder at our game.It wasn't hard to tell the moment that the Bulldogs' frustrations boiled over. It came with 15 minutes gone in the second half, when North Mason's Lindsay Choffin - the team's top player, according to coach Scott McDonald - lost a hard charge for the ball with Bainbridge sweeper Suzanne Fossum deep in Spartan territory.Choffin had to be carried off the field with a reaggravated, partially torn meniscus cartilage in her knee.We were dominating the game pretty much to that point, McDonald said. But when she went down, there went the leader of our team, and you can't do much without a leader.Bainbridge, playing without starting midfielder Courtney McFarlane - victim of a torn adductor muscle suffered last week against North Kitsap - successfuly pinned the ball at the Bulldog end the rest of the way.As Replinger put it: None of us wanted this to be our last game.McDonald, for one, doesn't think it will be. Bainbridge is a really good team, with a lot of class, he said. Whoever plays them will have their hands full. "

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