The Spartans’ strong play from start to finish this season may leave players and coaches wondering what might have happened with a full season and a state tournament, but Bainbridge will take comfort in wrapping up an Olympic League championship and an undefeated season.
Bainbridge took to the pitch at Memorial Stadium Wednesday with a 9-0 record and a matchup against Sequim, which finished atop the Olympic League North Division, in a de facto league title game.
Up until a week ago, it looked like this match might feature two unbeaten teams, but the Wolves fell last week to Kingston, 3-1. You wouldn’t know it by the way they played as they gave the Spartans everything they could handle, but Bainbridge prevailed 2-1 to capture the championship.
“[Sequim] played really hard. They came out hot,” Bainbridge coach Drew Keller said. “The boys kept their heads, but it was a tough game.”
All of the offense from both teams came in the first half, and Bainbridge got on the board early.
Just three minutes into the match, midfielder John Roman won possession of a ball and hit Ben Wilkinson streaking down the left sideline. Wilkinson got off a strong shot, and Sequim’s keeper made the save, but Damoni McKenna-Greenawalt was there to pop home the rebound.
With Sequim having a short bench, it could have easily been the beginning of a rout, but the Wolves continued to battle the Spartans even as they extended the lead.
Bainbridge earned a corner kick in the 30th minute, and Calvin Moe’s ball found Wilkinson high in the air, and he headed it into the net.
Sequim cut the lead in half just before halftime as Eli Gish struck a beautiful free kick from 30 yards out that bent into the corner of the net.
The second half was filled with close chances for both teams. Moe had a golden opportunity in the 71st minute to ice the game, but his shot bounced off the left post. Wilkinson had another chance to pot a goal, but put his shot soared a bit high over the crossbar.
“Ben was unlucky to not get another one. He had a fantastic game,” Keller said. “Great senior leadership from him. We’ll miss him for sure.”
Bainbridge keeper Caleb Sacks came up with an enormous save that could have tied it late in the match as Sequim had a clean look at the net. It seemed like both teams were on the verge of scoring throughout the second half, but both defenses ended up standing pat.
“We had a couple that just didn’t quite fall for us, or they were running in and getting in the way,” Keller said. “We had a spell in the middle of the second half there, we changed things a little bit, and we had some good chances, but they defended well.”
Tensions were high until the final whistle, when Bainbridge could finally celebrate. It was a phenomenal season for the Spartans, finishing with a 10-0 record and outscoring Olympic League opponents 49-3.
“We had fun. I’m just glad we got to play with COVID and everything going on,” Wilkinson said. “I’m happy we got to do what we did and see the young players grow and get one more season with the boys.”
Bainbridge 2, Sequim 1
SQ 1 0 — 1
BI 2 0 — 2
First half — Bainbridge, Damoni McKenna-Greenawalt (Ben Wilkinson), 3rd; Bainbridge, Wilkinson (Calvin Moe), 30th; Sequim, Eli Gish, 37th.