In their first match back from Spring Break, their first time all playing together on a field in 10 days, the Bainbridge High boys varsity soccer team held their own against the perennial powerhouse program of O’Dea’s Fighting Irish.
A 1-1 home field tie concluded Monday’s outing, and ushered in the second half of the season.
The win at home elevated the Spartans’ overall season record to 4-2-3 (4-2-2 in league) and earned them the sixth-place spot in the Metro standings. O’Dea is the top-ranked team (7-1-2 in league), with Roosevelt in second (7-1-1) and Ballard in third (7-1-0).
The Spartans scored early Monday and held the lead for most of the match, before O’Dea snuck one in late in the second half.
The boys from Bainbridge were unable to mount a response in time, and thus settled for the tie.
It was, if not exactly exciting for the team, at least a reassurance of their skill level, agreed BHS seniors, two of the team’s three co-captains, Thomas Crowley and Jake Prodzinski.
“I think it says a lot about our team,” Prodzinski said. “I think coming into today the mentality was a little bit low, actually. But we came out here strong. We had like 10 or 15 minutes before the game, we really started going, getting into it. Then we came out hard and that’s when we got our goal.”
Crowley said it was a “tough” outing, and nobody expected an easy win against O’Dea.
“We’ll take the tie,” he said. “I thought we played good in the first half. We opened really strong, but the second half they pressured us a lot and we were on our heels.”
Monday’s manic weather shifts — dismally cold and pouring rain one minute, extremely windy, and then blindingly sunny the next — also could not be totally ignored.
“We played into the wind in the second half,” Crowley said. “The sun played a factor, you really couldn’t see anything, but we’ll take it.”
That being said, none of the usual post-Spring Break blues were dogging the Spartans, Prodzinski said.
“Sometimes, after Spring Break you lose a little bit of your wind,” he said. “I thought our fitness was pretty good too, surprising for the first day back.”
The Spartans had another short break after Monday’s match, and they would not take the field again until 4 p.m. Monday, April 17 for a road match against Garfield. They will next play at home at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 19 against Franklin.
With seven games left on the regular season schedule, and having seen such a strong return from the recent break, the team had everything to look forward to, Prodzinski said.
“I think when we put the ball down in play we’re at our best,” he said. “Also, we play a lot of different styles as well. We can play the ball around but we can also knock it over the top and have the fast guys run around and score. So I think different modes are attacking are our strong suit.
“Also, the guys at the back are always holding it down,” he added.
The greatest challenge ahead for the Spartans was not a looming rival, Crowley agreed, but maintaining a simplified plan of attack.
“We just got to play simple, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “Stick to the game plan.”