After being soundly defeated by Peninsula at their place last week, Vashon looked to steady the boat as it were and was looking forward to meeting Peninsula last Thursday night on Vashon turf, muddy and bumpy as it may be.
Vashon’s Vultures showed they could stay with the pace of Peninsula’s game, and with the first game under their belt, they felt they could hang in there with them. And hang in there they did. Peninsula came out and scored two early goals. Then, the Vultures got it in gear with two unanswered of their own: Malcolm Henry on an assist from Kiryk Mozeleski, and then Mozeleski himself. Then it was game on. Like two heavyweights slugging it out, the game went back and forth.
Vulture Kellen Riley continues to dominate face-offs, and yet Peninsula battled for the ground balls, often wresting control from Vashon’s midfield. The Vultures won their fair share though, too, and the game upped tempo through the fourth quarter.
At one point, Vashon had a three-goal differential, but then, in the fourth quarter, tired legs and minds caused a number of small mistakes, which added up to a rough half. Peninsula took the lead with just a few seconds remaining. Vashon, however, managed a goal of their own right at the buzzer to take it to overtime.
The battle continued into overtime, with Vashon going down two players to penalty, and surviving three minutes with one or two men in the penalty box. Then, Peninsula returned the favor and had a man go out for a slash. Vashon couldn’t capitalize, and, with a lucky defensive play, Peninsula came up with the ball, took advantage of a momentary defensive lapse and got a nice shot from in front of goal to end the game. The final score was Peninsula 9, Vashon 8.
Scrappy Vashon was, but they just couldn’t hold on to that lead. The players and coaches expressed mixed feelings after the game: proud they competed well with a 3A school, but also frustrated they had the game in the bag and let it get away. With the two overtime periods, it was a very late night for the players, who got up at the same early time on Friday for school as usual, and then headed over to Gig Harbor that evening to meet another 3A team (again on the Peninsula High School field). This game started out very slowly, with both teams playing a very careful game of possession in the first quarter, but few shots. No goals were scored for either side.
The second quarter was a little more interesting, and at halftime, it was 2-1 Vashon. The rain started lightly, but by mid third quarter it was a monsoon. Both teams struggled a bit with the slippery conditions of field, ball and sticks, but it was a clean game. The only foul called the entire game was for an off-sides. There were solid hits, but the quality of play was up as well. It was less a game of mistakes, and more a game of taking advantage of opportunities. Vashon goalkeeper Duncan McMillan kept the Vultures in the game with several 1-1 stuffs against Gig Harbor. The opponent’s keeper returned the favor however, with two memorable stops down the stretch. It is worth noting that these two goalies are ranked eighth and ninth in the entire state for save percentage for goalies with five or more games (59.5 percent for McMillan and 59.4 percent for Gig Harbor’s Ben Brownfield).
Vashon led 5-4 at end of the third, but gave up the tying goal with about five minutes to play. Gig Harbor’s Nelson Snook was met by his primary defender, then a slide defender, then even a third defender, yet somehow shot around the corner of that whole line while nearly parallel to the ground to put it in.
Another goal was scored with just over a minute left in the game, and Gig Harbor held on despite a flurry of shots in the waning moments by Vashon. The game ended 6-5 with another Vashon loss.
Scoring leaders for Vashon so far this season are sophomore Mozeleski with 16 goals, Max Shira with nine goals, and three players with eight goals each: Dawit Tuller-Ross, Paris Brown and Calvin McMillan.
The Vultures now have a week off to lick their wounds, though they still stand at number one in their 1A/2A league for post-season seeding purposes.
Vashon will play South Kitsap in Kitsap on Tuesday, April 18. Then, on April 21, they will meet Sequim at Vashon High School. They will finish out with a game on April 22 against Klahowya at home.
— Greg Martin is the father of a Vashon Vultures lacrosse player.