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Lady kickers miss playoffs
With her eyes welling and jersey muddied, Angelique White walked off the pitch one last time — at least for now.
The Olympic College-bound senior ended her high school soccer career Tuesday in Bremerton’s season-ending 5-1 loss to North Kitsap on Senior Night at Memorial Stadium. The defeat squelched BHS’ slim playoff hopes.
“We have grown a lot as a team,” said White, a captain. “We got a couple new players, and then we got a new coach. We all started to want to work for each other, so that made a big improvement.”
It was a topsy-turvy-type season for the Lady Knights (5-7-0 overall, 4-6-0 league), who finished one point behind Port Angeles for the third and final Class 3A playoff spot from the combined 3A/2A Olympic League.
Colette Lyons, a 1999 BHS grad who played soccer at Tacoma Community College and Eastern Washington University before moving back to Bremerton, stepped in as coach, assuming control of a young team fresh off its first postseason berth in two decades.
After a 1-5 start, which, in terms of the playoffs, included a devastating 3-2 loss to Port Angeles, the Lady Knights pieced together four wins in five tries.
That stretch included victories over Port Townsend, Sequim, North Mason and Port Angeles, 6-1. But trailing PA by one point in the standings, BHS dropped games to Olympic and North Kitsap to close the season.
“It was a challenge because I went in not knowing a lot of things ... just little stuff that I’ll learn,” Lyons said of her inaugural season.
Lyons was impressed with the team’s leadership, beginning with White. The versatile captain, one of five seniors, anchored the team on the field, playing forward and midfield with the ability to help on defense. Perhaps more importantly, she showed the underclassmen how to lead.
“Hopefully we will build on that for the next three or four years,” Lyons said. “I think they came together well.”
“It was good because it didn’t help me just as a player, it helped me with stuff off the field,” White added. “It made me want to be a more positive role model and try harder.”
That was evident both before and after Tuesday’s loss. White received hugs, handshakes, flowers and balloons from her teammates, friends and both her current and former coach.
And while the game result was disappointing — NK led 2-0 at halftime and went up 5-0 before sophomore Julie Belden scored for BHS in the 75th minute — both White and Lyons said the evening was more about coming together as a team than winning or losing.
“I think towards the end, we didn’t give up,” White said. We finally picked it up, which was good.”
Port Angeles, which finished the season with 13 points to BHS’ 12, lost 1-0 to Olympic Tuesday, meaning a win or tie would have catapulted the Lady Knights into the playoffs.
White won’t be there when the 2010 version of BHS girls soccer kicks off, but she won’t be far away at OC. Additionally, five former Lady Knights with whom White played last season are members of the OC team. She looks forward to that reunion.
“I think that’ll be really good,” White said.