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Bainbridge Island FC boys advance to state final four

The U12 boys soccer team from Bainbridge Island FC has advanced to the final four with a chance to advance to the state title game on Sunday.   - Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island FC
The U12 boys soccer team from Bainbridge Island FC has advanced to the final four with a chance to advance to the state title game on Sunday.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Bainbridge Island FC

Now comes the hard part. The really hard part.

Bainbridge Island FC’s U12 boys soccer team advanced to the final four of the Washington Youth Soccer State Cup with a 2-0 victory over Gig Harbor on Saturday, April 20 at Battle Point Park.

The Bainbridge boys said they were excited over their victory last week, and were practicing hard this week in preparation for a chance to win a shot at the state crown.

It was easy to see how the team advanced, said player Matthew Hodges.

“We passed well. We just worked hard together as a team,” he said. “And I think our defense — we talked a lot, we communicated, and blocked a lot of through-balls.”

“Our goalie also helped communicate, and he made really great saves,” Matthew said.

He said the team has been working this week on general fitness preparation, plus time on specific techniques and drills.

“And we’ve been taking PKs [penalty kicks] — just in case,” he said. “Just preparing for the worst.”

Bainbridge had beaten Crossfire Premier 3-2 and Westsound 4-0 to advance to the quarterfinal game.

The Bainbridge team will now play at Starfire Sports Complex in Renton on Saturday, April 27.

The winning team will advance to the state championship game on Sunday, April 28.

“We’re going to have to score early. We have to pass a lot, find through-balls, and play good defense,” Matthew said.

Grant Wolff, a centerman for Bainbridge, said the team has plenty of strengths that it can rely on.

“Our fitness: Everybody is capable of playing 60 minutes,” Grant said. “And I think our defense is really good - getting to the ball when it’s played.”

“We just need to think of all the positive things we did last week and use that for motivation,” added right defender David Nikunen.

He added that losing the home-field advantage — and having to get up for an early boat to travel to the final four — will be challenges the team will have to overcome.

“Our home field has been a huge, big deal for us,” David said.

David said Bainbridge will face a team Saturday that it previously beat earlier this season.

But that doesn’t mean Bainbridge is a shoo-in for the championship game. Since they also made it to the final four, it shows their opponents are just as good, he said.

“We just can’t tell ourselves that were going to beat them because they’re a bad team. They’ve made it as far as us,” he said.

Andrew Mastors-Rao, a forward for Bainbridge, agreed.

“I’m expecting a very good game. We’re playing a well-matched team. They’re a very good team,” he said. “I think we should just play the way we always do, with passion and desire for the ball.”

“I think we’re just going to have to focus on passing,” Andrew added. “We don’t really have a system of like robots, working our way around the field. We’ve just got to go out and play hard, and that’s what we usually do.”

The team is led by Head Coach Tim Self and Coach Simon Hung. Other members include of Cole Barjesteh, Sam Barnett, Andrew Becker, Daniel Debellis, Julian Florez, Jack Henry-Hung, Willem Patrick, Eros Rojas, Carlo Ruggiero and Andrew von Bereghy.

It has been an exciting year for the U12 age group on Bainbridge. The Blue and White teams won their fall league and Coach Self was selected to receive the BIFC Boys Select Coach of the Year Award.

For more information on Bainbridge Island Select Soccer visit www.bifc.net/SelectSoccer.

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