That joke got old fast.
The big goal for the Spartan girls this season, something that started as sort of preseason jest: “Be better than last year!”
Look who’s laughing now, though, and with gusto. With a 2-0 start, the Bainbridge High girls varsity soccer team has already surpassed last year’s total number of wins in this young season.
And they’ve also scored more goals than last year — all in the first two games.
Last year’s jinxed season (0-13-2) is quickly becoming a faded memory.
Bainbridge reeled off two wins in its first two games; a 2-1 home-opener win against Nathan Hale late last week and a 3-2 victory against Central Kitsap on the road in Silverdale Saturday.
Team chemistry has been a potent part of the mix, said Julia Footh, a senior Spartan who is co-captain of the team along with Allie Berry.
“This last year we all started on the same club team together, so all of but two of us play on the same team year-round,” she said.
“Last year, we were just a totally random group of girls playing together. Our chemistry has been getting a lot better.”
Last year, the Spartans struggled through a frustrating season where multiple players were out injured. Footh herself suffered from a torn meniscus.
“It was a tough year. Now we’re all back and we’re all healthy and strong and our chemistry is killing it,” she said.
The Spartan squad is a bit more seasoned, as well, said Spartan Coach Scott Druker.
“We were young last year,” Druker recalled.
What a difference a year has made, as 10 players on the team are now juniors: Caroline Ketcheside, Lindsay Franznick, Lilli Aduddell, Haley Morris, Anika Lesko, Delaney Wiggins, Noelle Lipschutz, Sara Irvin, Meghan Ginder and Svetlana Maguire.
Rounding out the roster, seniors Kate Mackin and Jianna Kauffman; and sophomores Marlie Keasler, Sofia Trail and Chloe Lavigne.
The veterans on the team have Druker, and his Spartans, hopeful for a successful season.
“I do have high expectations,” the coach said, noting the number of players new to the varsity squad last season.
Having such a youthful squad last year meant few departures in the senior ranks; only two players were lost to graduation.
“Basically, it’s the same team,” Druker said.
Even so, the Spartans still have the Metro League to deal with. That means a season filled with substantial challenges, including this week’s matchups with Bishop Blanchet at home and Seattle Prep on the road.
Last year, Blanchet bested Bainbridge 5-0 and 6-0 in their two meetings, while Prep prevailed 4-0 and 5-0 against the Spartans.
“This is it. They are definitely two good squads and they smoked us last year,” Druker said.
And come next week, there will be Lakeside at home on Sept. 19.
“I think every game is going to be tough for us. I really don’t see any easy games for us,” Druker said.
And those first two wins, he noted, were decided by one goal.
Sure, the Spartans will be looking to Lesko — the Spartans’ super scorer — for offense, but everyone needs to play a part, Druker said.
“My biggest thing is: I want them to play to their potential. Don’t just play just to play.
“My theme this year is probably grit. I want to see perseverance,” the coach said. “Don’t just play just to play. Granted, if we play hard and we lose, I can live with that. That is definitely no problem.
“If we’re going to win, we’re going to win because everybody’s working hard,” Druker said.