Strength and unity on the field have propelled The Bear Creek School girls soccer team to a solid fall campaign.
Behind a host of returners and 10 freshmen, the Grizzlies shot out of the gate with a 4-1 record in the 1A Emerald City League and 8-2 overall mark at press time. During those matches, they outscored their opponents 49-13 and were ranked 12th on the 1A state list, according to the MaxPreps site.
“We’re more than friends on the team. Even at school we have a really good connection, so we see each other every day and that just makes our team bonding really strong,” said senior captain and defender Kate Bieber.
Added fellow senior captain and left wing Katie Kranz: “I think the chemistry on the field is really important. You really learn to rely on one another, work hard together, talk to one another.”
Kranz, who is one of the Grizzlies’ nine goal scorers, feels they’ve found success by being one big, united family.
“As a team as a whole, I think we’ve done such a great job in the midfield. Being here for the past three years, I’ve really just had a great time with the girls on this team, specifically in the middle,” said Kranz, noting that the Grizzlies have unleashed lots of stellar passes and crosses that have resulted in goals.
During her team’s 2-0 victory over Bush, Bieber — a fourth-year Bear Creek varsity player — said the Grizzlies possessed heaps of communication and positivity to notch the big win. By continuing to work hard in drills, not slowing down against any team and staying hyped up for each match, she feels the Grizzlies can keep rolling.
Head coach Ryan Byram describes the team as hard working and versatile. Along with the multitude of goal scorers, the Grizzlies have started seven different players at defender in front of sophomore goalkeeper McKenna Mullet, who started every game as a freshman last season.
The girls began practicing in the summer and tackled some weightlifting as well.
“The commitment level was better than it’s probably ever been and that’s just rolled right into the season,” said Byram, adding that the team’s record is on track to be its best in the last five seasons.
Byram said Bear Creek has a good mix of talented returners and newcomers on the pitch to compete in the strong Emerald City League and beyond. Despite losing to perennial powerhouse squads Overlake and Klahowya — both by 3-2 scores — the coach said the girls were inspired to step up their game even higher.
“I just think the future’s bright for us, and the future is starting right now,” Byram said.