Sports

Soccer | Bainbridge powers through injuries

Bainbridge’s Brad Olson battles with Kingston’s Hank Veenstra Monday. Bainbridge and Kingston tied 0-0.  The Buccaneers, 8-1-1, limited the Spartans’ offensive opportunities.  - Brad Camp/For the North Kitsap Herald
Bainbridge’s Brad Olson battles with Kingston’s Hank Veenstra Monday. Bainbridge and Kingston tied 0-0. The Buccaneers, 8-1-1, limited the Spartans’ offensive opportunities.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the North Kitsap Herald

Despite finishing with ties in three of its last four games, the Bainbridge soccer team seems to be peaking at the right time.

The Spartans (6-0-3) have held the No. 3 ranking among 3A schools for the last four weeks, and have played well despite being hampered by several injuries, coach George Vukic said.

Bainbridge tied with Kingston Monday and Seattle Prep Tuesday.

“These last two games this week, these games went as we would have liked them to,” Vukic said. “There is a growth process that happens at that point where you’re not getting an abundance of attempts on goal.”

The ties, Vukic said, are also a result of the Spartans early season success coupled with recent illness and injury.

“People, they look at your results and they get wise to your strength and they prepare,” he said. “There were four injuries for the Seattle Prep game, and I’ve got one kid sick with a longer-term sickness. I hope I have 11 players (for Thursday’s Bishop Blanchet game).”

The Spartans will play Metro rivals Lakeside and O’Dea on the road next week. While Bainbridge defeated both opponents in their first meetings in March, rematches always pose a greater challenge, Vukic said.

“We tend to come out of the gate quite strong,” Vukic said. “Every team out there is playing many games into the season, so the competition is growing stiffer.”

With the significant personnel changes, the Spartans have simplified their strategy.

“Schemes are directly linked to players,” Vukic said. “When you’re minus certain types of players, your scheme has to change. We’ve had to revert to more standard soccer schemes.”

Vukic has also been taking a different approach to the team’s intense schedule. While the Spartans were scheduled to play four games this week, Vukic has canceled practice the day before games.

“If they’re deprived of (playing), they’re more eager to get out and fight,” he said. “I would assume within seven days – with the hope that there are no new illnesses – we’re back to our full strength.”

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