Vashon Island Soccer Club’s girls’ under 14 team, the Orcas, coached by Nick Keenan, Darragh Kennan and Brian Gill, brought home the Washington Youth Soccer Recreational Cup on Dec. 8. A commanding 3–0 win over the Grays Harbor Crushers in the final match secured the victory for the 20 seventh- and eighth-grade players, who scored 12 goals and allowed zero in a five-game shut-out tournament against other U14 teams from across the state.
Strong performance in the tournament was led by goalie Ivy Staczek, who made numerous clutch saves and allowed no goals. Defenders Leah Gross, Alana Bass, Liv Ormseth, Myra Butler, Simona Nelson and Amelia Krouse dominated with speed and reliable connecting passes, keeping the ball out of the defensive third. Bass set up the game-deciding assist in the crucial quarterfinal match, dribbling the ball half the field and making a surgical cross to her center-forward for the winning goal. Midfielders Kate Spranger, Vera Moses, Maren MacLean, Paisley Bigatel, Krouse and Sophie Merrigan played fast and smart, dominating the field consistently. Offensive pressure was key to the Orcas success, resulting in six goals for Mallory Keenan and two apiece for Hanifa Khidr, Marina-Rae Gill and Olivia Boyes. And Maire Kennan, Ciarra Matthias, Rose Peterson and Caroline Bray contributed a multitude of offensive pushes and shots on goal.
The Orcas’ practices at Vashon High School’s turf field made an unmistakable impact on their season, giving the players consistent conditions to practice on and readying the team for away–games played on turf. The girls wrap up their 12–week regular season on Dec. 15, and most of the players are also mid–season playing for the McMurray Mustangs, coached by Dan Baker. The next Mustang home game is against Cascade Christian at 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 10.
— Ellen Parker is the parent of an Orcas team member.