It didn’t come with a fancy bow or festive wrapping paper, but the Spartans gave their seniors a big parting present Tuesday with a 6-0 win over Lakeside in girls varsity soccer.
The Metro League matchup at Memorial Field was Senior Night for the Spartans, and their last home game of the regular season.
“It was good to get back in stride. And it’s nice to see everybody back healthy,” said Head Coach Scott Druker.
Druker noted that two key starters — Celia Story and Annie Casey — are back up to full speed.
“You could tell that they are up to full speed; their skills are there, they are not getting tired — all those things,” he said.
Druker said the team wanted to give its seniors a night to remember.
But what a gift. The 6-0 shellacking gave the Spartans the Metro League title for the second year in a row and came with a hat trick by Riley Gregoire, who netted Bainbridge’s first goal after teammate Natalie Vukic zipped to the left corner of the box and fired in a rocket past diving Lakeside goalkeeper Katie Bernardez.
The shot hit the right post and bounced out.
Gregoire was there to collect it, though, and sent a sizzler back in for a 1-0 Spartan lead in the third minute of the contest.
Bainbridge continued its attack, with most of the play of the first half on Lakeside’s end.
Gregoire scored again in the 13th minute off a pass from Vukic, then finished off her hat trick in the 31st minute with an assist from Celia Story.
As play resumed, Story put one in herself for the Spartans in the 41st minute for the 4-0 Bainbridge lead.
Vukic earned her second of three assists on the night from the play.
The Spartan standout put BHS up 5-0 in the 48th minute on an unassisted shot.
Vukic then set up Claire Marcum for the final score of the night, a 1st minute shot that settled the scoring at 6-0, Bainbridge.
It was a shared shutout in the Bainbridge goal.
Deahna King and Alex Bredy split goalkeeper duties, with King handling the first half, and Bredy, the final 40.
The win over Lakeside may not have the shine of previous years. The Lions are 1-8-1 in the Metro this year.
“Lakeside isn’t quite as strong as they were in the past, so obviously you tend to look a little bit better. That’s part of it,” Druker said of the win.
The other part?
“Finishing. There’s a reason why I have Natalie, Riley and Celia in the positions they are. They are our three best finishers,” Druker said.
This week’s win came after the Spartans stalemated with Seattle Prep, 1-1, on the Panthers’ home turf earlier last week.
And late last week: the sole blemish on this year’s impressive season; a 2-0 loss to Bishop Blanchet.
Blanchet scored late in both quarters for the home win; the first in the 35th minute, and the settler in the 69th minute.
The Spartans make their first appearance in the Metro League playoffs on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Bainbridge enters as the first seed in the Mountain Division after winning the division title with this week’s win over Lakeside, and will play the winner of Saturday’s matchup between Nathan Hale and Seattle Prep or Blanchet.
Prep was scheduled to play Blanchet Thursday night to decide Hale’s opponent on Saturday.
Druker said he figures the Spartans will see either Prep or Blanchet advance against the Raiders.
“Even though we lost to Blanchet, I think we match up better against them,” Druker said.
Seattle Prep might surprise, however, if the Spartans get a semifinals rematch against the Panthers.
“They’ve shown that they’re a strong defensive team. It’s going to be a close game and we’ve just got to grit it out. We’ve got to find a way to get a goal,” Druker said.
“It’s not going to be easy,” the Spartan coach said of the Metro League tourney. “And with Holy Names playing a helluva lot better ... If they end up on the same side of the bracket, who knows?”
A victory on Saturday will punch the Spartans’ ticket to state. It’s something that Druker will no doubt drill into his team.
“There is no tomorrow,” he said.
“I just hope, like all sports teams, I hope we didn’t peak too early.
We dipped, we got some ties and a loss there. Hopefully we’re on our way back up again,” Druker said.
That said, the Spartans know they largely control their own destiny.
“Talent-wise, we can do it,” Druker said.
“I think we can play against everybody. If there’s nothing freakish with the soccer gods, so to speak,” he quickly added. “You know those things happen: You take nine or 10 shots on goal, you make one. They take two and they make two.
“I think if the game is played true and weather doesn’t come in to play, we have a good chance,” Druker said.