CK continues quest

Central Kitsap’s Brandi Hamre tries to make a move around Bainbridge defender Lauren Tyner in Thursday’s 2-1 Cougs’ win.  - Photo by Aaron Managhan
Central Kitsap’s Brandi Hamre tries to make a move around Bainbridge defender Lauren Tyner in Thursday’s 2-1 Cougs’ win.
— image credit: Photo by Aaron Managhan

Two seasons have passed since Central Kitsap’s girls soccer squad reached the state quarterfinals. But if the Cougars hot start is any indication, they could be making a return trip this fall.

Central Kitsap improved to 3-0 to start the new season, stopping Bainbridge 2-1 in a non-league contest Thursday at Silverdale Stadium. That followed a 3-1 win Tuesday at Kentlake and a 4-0 drubbing of Decatur in a physical match. But according to Central Kitsap girls soccer coach Vicky Webb, this team wants to do even more.

And Webb said that starts by scheduling the kinds of non-leaguers the Cougars have.

“We had to do that,” Webb said. “You’ve got to play strong teams. We play a different kind of soccer here. On the other side of the bridge, you have to.”

In addition to being a physical team, Decatur also was a state quarterfinalist a year ago. But with brutal matches against Tacoma-area schools and others from the other side of the water, Webb said CK is as tough a team, physically and mentally, as anyone.

“What I like about our team is our physical style,” she said. “We don’t back down from people. They play strong.”

That was evident in Thursday’s win as well, as CK trailed 1-0 at the half after looking somewhat uninspired to start. Webb noticed, as did the team itself.

“We issued a challenge at halftime,” Webb said. “That was, everyone look inside yourself and find what you can do to help the team.”

The result was two quick goals in the first eight minutes of the second half, as well as a renewed sense of urgency on both sides of the ball, that fueled the Cougs’ latest win.

But CK’s early stretch isn’t over yet.

After CK’s game today at Auburn Mountainview, the team will have played four games in five days.

And don’t forget the first day of school Wednesday.

“They’re tired,” Webb said. “No rest. (The day before) the first day of school, they got home late. Then they got up early for school. Then they get up, do it all again.”

Webb is excited for the new season and for good reason. Despite graduating six seniors, including co-captains Kim Kummer and Kate Boyd, the Cougs have five seniors heading this year’s squad, with a host of returners across the ranks. Last year, CK finished 8-4-4 overall, 5-2-3 in Narrows League play.

But none will be more important to the team than senior co-captains Ellen Boyd (keeper), Brandi Hamre (forward) and Jordan King (defense). More than anything else, Webb said the trio are the captains for good reasons.

“That’s what they bring to the team,” Webb said of their leadership. “Ellen is the field general of the defense. She’s a very outstanding, thoughtful person. Brandi is very skilled, very knowledgeable. And she can instill that knowledge in others. Jordan is skillful, but she leads with her play.”

Boyd has been solid at keeper this season, making several tough stops while utilizing her defense to thwart opponents’ attacks.

Hamre, one of the most dynamic scorers in the Narrows League, is one of the team’s most vocal leaders as well.

But this season is especially meaningful for King.

As a freshman during the 2004-05 school year, King was one of just two frosh (Hamre was the other) to play with the Cougs’ varsity. But King made her impact known early, scoring the game-winning shootout goal in CK’s first state tourney win, a 2-1 (3-1 shootout) victory against Bothell.

But after a serious knee injury last year, and ensuing surgery, King missed most of last season. Back on the field and getting more confident, King is ready to get back on track.

“It’s good,” she said of her injury. “I don’t think I’m 100 percent but I’m getting there. It’s improving everyday.”

The early rash of success this year has helped too.

“It’s fun to see us win these games,” King said. “It makes me want to recover faster.”

But aside from her own personal reasons, King said the early win streak has big implications on the team’s future.

“It gives us the confidence to go through the season against the kind of teams like Olympic and Gig Harbor,” she said. “And we lost a lot of seniors. We have some positions where we lost a lot. But we have a lot of girls stepping up.”

Fellow senior Brittany Nelson is one of those. After two years of knee injuries herself, Nelson is one Webb said she is excited to see get the chance.

“She has wanted so badly to play varsity,” Webb said. “Whenever we put her in there, she gives it everything she has.”

Senior Kate Berni is back at mid for CK, but Webb said her versatility will be an asset.

“She’s so strong, if we need her to go back there on ‘D,’ she can,” Webb said.

Also returning is junior Allie Washburn and sophomores Hannah Anderson and Molly Edde.

But several faces that didn’t see a lot of time last year will have increased roles this season, Webb said. That includes juniors Beka Kitchen, Katie Romas, Kelsey Preecha and Hannah Orando, sophomores Rebekah Daniel and Mandy Walker and freshman Kirsten Anthony.

“They’re wonderful. Aren’t they something?” Webb said. “They like each other. They get along well. They really support each other.”

And that support will be needed as CK prepares to get back into a tough Narrows League schedule.

“We always have great battles with South (Kitsap), Gig Harbor, Olympia, Bellarmine,” Webb said. “I think that’s where the strength of the league is. Olympia especially.”

For King, there’s one way to make this season one to remember.

“Hopefully going to state,” she said. “That’ll put the cherry on top.”

The Cougars battle crosstown rivals Olympic at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Silverdale Stadium.

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