Monday night was Senior Night for the Vashon Pirates soccer team, the last home game of the 2019 season. It was a chance to recognize the contributions of the five seniors and their parents who have shaped the face of the team over the past few years. Isaac Ajeto, Tommy Delargy, Elliott Eades, Will Hennessey and Finley Oswald were honored at halftime alongside their parents.
The game had added importance as the outcome had implications for district playoff seeding. Last Tuesday the Pirates went to Marymoor Park to play the Bellevue Christian Vikings. The two teams were tied for the conference lead, each with 5-0 records. Despite dominating the game with 56% possession and constantly putting the Vikings’ keeper under pressure with 15 shots on goal, Vashon found themselves losing 4-3. Delargy scored all of Vashon’s goals, but defensive lapses led to three goals against the Vashon keeper, Marley Kott, who managed five solid saves during the game. Relentless pressure by Vashon in the final minutes made a tying goal seem inevitable. It was not to be, as three shots clanged off the goal and a desperate save by the Vikings keeper on a Delargy free kick that was followed by Will Hennessey’s shot off the rebound, which knocked the wind out of the keeper and sealed the loss. This dropped Vashon to second place as they prepped for Thursday’s game at Starfire against the Seattle Christian Warriors.
Vashon put in a workmanlike game against Seattle Christian winning 5-2. They dominated with 61% possession and 19 shots on goal. Jeremiah Bogaard and Jessie Townsend scored in addition to Delargy’s hat trick, and Jacob Heuschert provided two assists. Later that night Charles Wright beat Bellevue Christian by 3-1, which set the stage for Monday’s game and the Pirate’s chance to avenge their loss to Bellevue Christian and to regain control of their playoff destiny.
The Pirates came out strong against the Bellevue Christian Vikings with Delargy shooting three balls off the posts and Oswald just missing on four headers off corners before the Vikings could muster any serious offensive possession across the midfield line. Three positional changes seemed to make a big difference. Heuschert moved from mid-field to up top, sharing striker duties with Delargy; Freddy Guitieriz started at midfield, and Bogaard started at center back. Bogaard lent stability and discipline to the defensive line while Guitierez complemented Oswald at mid-field adding another playmaker to the mix. These changes also allowed defenders on the wings to push up and harass the Vikings with overlapping passes.
Vashon’s disciplined play and possession paid off in the 14th minute when midfielder Bellamy Cox-Sitkiewicz dribbled into space and made a beautiful pass to Delargy, who slotted the ball into the net. In the 36th minute, Heuschert lofted the Pirates sixth corner kick into the box, and Oswald scored on a decisive, powerful header. At the half, Vashon led 2-0, and the Vikings had only one soft shot on keeper Rivas, while the Pirates had put six shots on frame and had nine missed shots.
The second half proceeded much as the first with the Pirate midfielders controlling play and the defense snuffing out any offensive effort by the Vikings. In the 43rd minute, Heuschert sent a pass to Delargy, whose shot just beat the outstretched arms of the Viking keeper. Vashon had six shots on goal, nine misses and three corner kicks. Elliott Eades, Ronny Torres and Will Hennessey all had strong, repeated runs forward from defensive positions, and Oswald was everywhere on the field. The Pirates had one final scoring opportunity when Marley Kott subbed in under two minutes and made a nice leading pass to Delargy, who fired a hard shot that was barely saved. Vashon won 3-0, and the outcome never seemed in doubt. They moved into sole possession of first place, setting the stage for Wednesday’s away match with Charles Wright who could play the role of spoilers. Vashon again needed a win or a tie against Charles Wright to secure a number one seed (and a home game) in District play offs while a Tarriers win would complicate the playoffs for the Pirates. This game was played after press time. Pending the outcome of the game playoffs will begin on Saturday, May 4, or Tuesday, May 7, for the Pirates.
— Jonathan Kott is the father of a Pirate soccer player.