BKW is young, but resilient

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Shimmy and shake: Senior Audrey Goodemotte moves with the soccer ball for Berne-Knox-Westerlo last Friday during a home contest against Sharon Springs. The Bulldogs won, 1 to 0, on a goal from Sarah Martin, and the team is 3-3-1 in the Western Athletic Conference.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Battlefield: The Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ soccer team improved to 3-3-1 after a 1-to-0 win at home over Sharon Springs last Friday. Here, ninth-grader Micayla Sheridan, left, tussles with the Spartans’ Samantha Jackson. Sheridan is one of 10 new players for the Bulldogs.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Running at an angle to save the ball before it goes out of bounds near the end line is Berne-Knox-Westerlo sophomore Stephanie Mason, who assisted on the Bulldogs’ only goal last Friday in a game against Sharon Springs. BKW got the victory, 1 to 0.

The Enterprise — Jordan J. Michael

Backpedal: Kristen Norray (#14), playing forward for the Bulldogs last Friday, reacts after heading the ball. Norray had some scoring chances, unable to convert, but Berne-Knox-Westerlo won anyway.

BERNE — Resiliency has nothing to do with age.

Despite having 20 players graduate over the last two years and losing a junior-varsity program, the Berne-Knox-Westerlo girls’ soccer team is making do with a young roster. The Bulldogs improved its record to 3-3-1 with a win over Sharon Springs last Friday.

BKW spent most of the game possessing the ball in Sharon Springs’ half of the field, getting eight corner-kick opportunities. The Bulldogs kept Sharon Springs’ goalie Kara VanArsdal very busy.

“This bunch is a lot of fun, and they’re willing to do anything to learn,” BKW Head Coach Bill Dergosits said after the 1-to-0 win at home. “There will be growing pains, but our upside is really high.”

The Bulldogs have only five players with previous varsity experience (four seniors and one junior), and the majority of the team hasn’t finished 10th grade (five ninth-graders and one eighth-grader). However, BKW seemed more familiar with the varsity game than paper might suggest.

“Yes, we’re always trying, even in practice,” said sophomore Sarah Martin, who tapped in the Bulldogs’ only goal off a pass from Stephanie Mason. “Coach makes us push our limit,” said Martin of practices, “which is good because we try our hardest during a real game.”

For the past couple of years, BKW has finished in first place in the Western Athletic Conference South, but that success came with an abundance of senior leadership. Now, the table has been flipped.

“We’re young, very young, but scrappy,” Dergosits said. “There’s lots of learning on the fly, and the returning players know about the high level that this team tries to maintain, so they’re passing that on to the new girls.”

Senior Delaney Martin, BKW’s top goal scorer, danced through Sharon Springs’ defense all day, but she couldn’t capitalize on her chances. Dergosits had moved her back into the midfield to “see what else we had,” but no defenders wanted to challenge Martin, letting her near the goal.

“I’m proud of everyone,” said Sarah Martin, who is Delaney’s cousin. Their other cousin, and teammate, Julianna Martin, was the goalkeeper. “We’re all improving every day. We’re happy.”

Dergosits told The Enterprise that the Bulldogs have three players who weigh 90 pounds or less. Some of BKW’s shots could have had more power behind them, but the team doesn’t have a lot of muscle.

“These girls are balls of energy; they just don’t stop,” said Dergosits. “They want to go, want to please, and throw their hearts into it. They’re easy to coach.”

Even with such a youthful line-up, BKW is trying to develop a team as dominant as before. Last Friday, the Bulldogs were fast, showed spark, and continuously ran after the soccer ball.

This season, BKW will face its share of opponents that are older and more experienced, but those opponents may not have as much spunk.

“They’ve come so far already,” Dergosits said. “I know that they know what to do; they’ll come off the field and tell me what they should have done. It’s just getting them to do it without thinking, and that comes from playing more and more.”

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