Kingston, Bainbridge soccer teams satisfied with tie

Kingston High
Kingston High's Chad Trask, right, battles Bainbridge High's Chandler Foster for the ball Monday at Kingston High School's Buccaneer Field.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

KINGSTON — There’s an old expression that says a tie is like kissing your sister.

But when you’re up against some of the best soccer talent in the state, a little smooch doesn’t seem so bad.

The Kingston High boys soccer team (8-1-1 overall) held the undefeated Bainbridge High Spartans to a 0-0 tie Monday in Kingston. Last year, the Spartans trounced the Buccaneers, 6-0.

“That’s the best team that we’ve played so far,” Kingston coach Craig Smith said of the Spartans. “They work the ball quickly and they’re more of a threat offensively than any team we’ve played.”

Bainbridge (6-0-2 overall) is ranked third among Class 3A schools in the state and first in the Metro League. There is currently no state ranking system for smaller schools like Kingston, in Washington’s 2A class.

Monday’s game was a defensive test for the Bucs, who sit atop the Olympic League’s 2A division. The Spartans dominated possession and kept the ball in the attacking third of the field for the majority of the game.

“I thought we played a very nice game,” Bainbridge coach George Vukic said. “We were short a little bit of finishing savvy. But the chances were hard to come by.”

The Kingston defense bent at times, but never broke.

“To be fair, most teams with that kind of pressure on them would’ve given in,” Vukic said. “There was some stubborn defending going on there.”

The Spartans’ best opportunity came in the 55th minute. Kingston defender Matt Hust was called for a foul when he tackled Bainbridge’s Alex Raquer inside the penalty box. Bainbridge was awarded a penalty kick, but Kingston goalkeeper Jason Kramberger pounced on the shot just inches from the goal line.

“I’ve been practicing PKs for a long time, with all the teams I’ve been on,” Kramberger, a junior, said. “I just kind of get a sense of where they’re going to kick it. I just did what I always do.”

Kramberger and senior goalkeeper Spencer Miele have allowed just three goals in the first 10 games of the season. Smith praised Kramberger for notching the team’s seventh shutout of the year.

“It was the best goalkeeping game I’ve had as a coach at Kingston so far,” Smith, who has coached the Bucs for three years, said of Monday’s game. “I’ve got two of the best goalies in the league.”

The Buccaneer offense, by contrast, has put in 23 goals this season. Kingston has beaten high-ranked league opponents including Bremerton and Sequim, and last year’s Nisqually League champion Steilacoom. Each of those contests ended 1-0.

Kingston’s first loss of the season came last week, against district rival North Kitsap High (8-0-0), the sixth-ranked 3A team in the state and leader of the Olympic League. North Kitsap midfielder Spencer Black scored the game’s only goal six minutes before the final whistle.

“The guys were pretty let down at the end of that game,” Smith said. “But again, that was a growing experience for us. Games like this prep us for the rest of our league and hopefully postseason.”

Bainbridge has a tough schedule this week. The Spartans host Seattle Prep today, play at Bishop Blanchet Thursday and at Central Kitsap Saturday.

The Bucs have yet another tough test this week. They host a rematch with Bremerton (5-2-2 overall) on Thursday. Monday’s game was a shot of confidence.

“I always knew that these guys had the capability,” Smith said. “It’s a matter of them taking charge of themselves on the field.”

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