Sports

KHS kickers ready to take on the season

Bouncing back from a loss of players to Kingston High School and stiff Narrows League competition marks the beginning of the 2007-08 North Kitsap High boys soccer season.

But head coach Chris May and assistant coach Greg St. Peter are “optimistic” about the season, which will be headed by sound senior leadership and overall quality athletes.

At tryouts approximately 50 players showed up and 40 made the cut — 10 players are seniors.

“The number of seniors will be a key role in leadership for these guys,” St. Peter said.

Both May and St. Peter look to seniors Sam Mouser, Jon Luc Klinker and Jake Pedersen to emerge as the team’s cornerstone players.

And the coaches have already been proven correct.

May said the team, most of whom play for the North Kitsap Soccer Select Club, have been working out under the guidance of the seniors since January.

And as much play time as possible is essential because the team only has 10 days to prepare for its first bout and finds itself playing in a league dominated by 4-A schools.

“The Narrows League is tough,” May said. “They’re bigger schools so they have more pool to draw from.”

But harder competition makes for better athletes.

Both coaches turn to Bellarmine and Stadium, a team that nearly won the league last year, as some of NK’s top competition.

“It’s a good challenge for the guys,” May said.

Another challenge facing the team is also a strength: The multitude of athletes who turned out.

“The big challenge right now is there’s so many guys,” St. Peter said. “Trying to pick 11 (starters) out of this many is tough.”

In order to find out “what fits best,” the athletes are running through a regimen of of drills and scrimmages.

“Over working the defense,” is also a key focus, as St. Peter said NK lost a lot of defensive players to KHS.

Last year the Vikes missed a state berth by one game and both May and St. Peter believe the team could be in a position for a trip to state this year.

“They’re a good group of quality young men who are eager to win,” St. Peter said. “There’s not a lot of selfishness or egos out there. They work hard, accomplish the tasks and that’s their way of having fun.”

The team kicks off its season with a home game on March 8 against Olympic League competitor Port Angeles.

Next year the Vikings join the Olympic League so both coaches agree non-leagues match ups will be “more important than usual.”

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