Sports

Age outplays youth in annual club soccer match

Members of the Vikings show their dismay at the loser’s tiny trophy, a fraction of the size of the engraved  bohemoth the men earned with their win.  - Cara Briskman Photo
Members of the Vikings show their dismay at the loser’s tiny trophy, a fraction of the size of the engraved bohemoth the men earned with their win.
— image credit: Cara Briskman Photo

By GREG MARTIN

What some consider to be one of the best soccer games to grace the island was played Sunday, Dec. 15, at the new VES Fields.

The second annual Vashon Cup pitted the Vashon Island Soccer Club U19 Vikings against island men. The Vikings were coming off a solid win in a friendly game a few weeks ago against roughly the same group, though this time they were missing key central midfielder Peter Amick to an injury (broken foot), and the men had been busy recruiting college age players to aid the cause.

The game started off at a brisk pace, and the Vikings were threatening early. Shane Bedard, Austin Heit and Jack Brenner all got off solid shots on frame, but the giant goalie the men had recruited, Rex McFarlin, was able to make some fingertip stops. Bedard finally scored with a cannon blast off the laces, which hit the crossbar, the ground inside the goal, and then back up to the crossbar and back out of the goal. Though the men protested, the fact was it was a good goal, and both the side and center referees were certain, so it stood.

The men were then threatening, and the pressure was on goalie Ben Stemmer. He made a number of critical saves, and then there was a ball handled in the box. The men took the advantage when Oli Christopherson completed the penalty kick to even it up.

Just prior to halftime, Willamette University senior Will O’Neil scored for the men. Both teams felt a win was within reach.

As the second half unfolded, the relentless subbing of the men’s team, which had gathered some 20 players for the match, eventually carried the day. The Vikings continued to press though, with numerous runs past defenders, laying in some dangerous shots and crosses. There was an incredible set of saves by second-half men’s goalie, Rick Sinclair. Major League Soccer goalies would have been glad to make the diving fingertip save early in the half and the double save he made late in the match to keep the game under control. Stemmer held on similarly at the other end.

The match began to escalate with some tough tackles and some calls the men challenged, but the refs kept the game well under control. When David Leonhardt made a sideline run, with a gutsy effort to tap the ball into the box while getting sandwiched by three Vikings (and was left lying on the ground), the ball was then passed across the box for a shot impossible to defend. The men took control with a 3-1 lead, and the game opened up.

The Vikings then were forced to move more players forward to

increase their pressure, but the men held on and scored a couple late goals. Goal scorers were Bedard, Christopherson, O’Neil (2), Max Chwaszczewski and Jacob Lecesne.

The final score of 5-1 was crooked, but the game was closer than the score shows. The Vikings played perhaps their best game of the year without one of their strongest players. It was a great soccer match, now part of an annual tradition.

— Greg Martin in a Vashon soccer enthusiast.

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