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Lady Knight kickers eye playoffs, again
Colette Lyons replaces retired coach Lance McCoy.
The Bremerton girls soccer team is coming off a season in which it advanced to the playoffs for the first time in nearly 20 years.
But that success came under a coach who is now retired, and it came on the feet of a group of seniors who have since graduated.
The 2009 version of the Lady Knights is different top to bottom. The team’s goal, however, is to achieve what the 2008 squad accomplished: reach the playoffs.
“I just want to get to the playoffs,” said first-year coach Colette Lyons, a 1999 BHS grad who played soccer at Tacoma Community College and Eastern Washington University before moving back to Bremerton for a job and to coach at Olympic College as an assistant.
Last year’s Lady Knights were experienced — then-seniors Kelsey Johnson, Sarah Streutker and Hannah McCoy, as well as others, had played together since middle school – but Lyons’ squad is comprised primarily of underclassmen, having five seniors.
Among those seniors are returning players Angelique White, Brooke Erickson and Kristy Wood, all of whom appear primed to pick up where their former teammates left off.
“Since our freshman year, this is the hardest we have ever worked,” said White, who will move from defender to forward. “Everyone is on the same page … Everyone is working for each other.”
“We’re just trying to keep people positive and keep working hard,” added Wood, the starting goalkeeper.
Lyons believes the team’s strength is offense, with White figuring to provide the bulk of the scoring along with a trio of sophomores – Julie Belden, Abby Neil and Sabrena Cohen, all of whom Lyons called “assets on offense.”
“Angelique played defense all last year and I don’t want to waste her talent in the back. I want her to score goals,” Lyons said.
Wood gives the team experience in goal and Erickson figures to anchor the line on defense. After those players, however, it will be largely up to the newcomers to step and make an immediate impact. Of the 35 players who turned out for soccer – including those listed on the junior varsity roster – 23 are either freshmen or sophomores.
“We are trying to bring that ‘As one’ motto together so we can all be on the same page and work together and, hopefully, make the playoffs again,” Wood said.
“I think now that we finally went (to the playoffs) after forever, a lot of people are more into it to try to get there again,” White added.
One of the biggest challenges thus far for Lyons has been to get to know the players and earn their trust while also urging them to buy into her system.
She accepted the job about two weeks prior to the end of the 2008-09 school year, giving her little time to alert the returning players. Her goal, she said, is to help BHS players advance to play soccer at the next level, whether it be at a community college or university.
“None of the girls really knew me (early on),” Lyons said. “But it’s coming together.”