The VHS boys’ soccer team is the 2019 Nisqually League Champion, giving the team back-to-back bragging rights with its second league title in as many years.
To secure the league title, Vashon had to beat Charles Wright on the Tarriers’ home field on Senior Night last Thursday. Charles Wright was looking to play the spoiler, and a Pirates loss would have resulted in a three-way tie for first place between Charles Wright, Bellevue Christian and Vashon, creating a playoff triangle.
The entire game was played at a high energy level with both teams trying to find chinks in each other’s defense. Charles Wright, with the fans and Senior Night to inspire them, kept Vashon on its heels for the first part of the game. The momentum changed when the Pirates got a free kick on the left side of the 18-yard box. Jacob Heuschert sent in a beautifully weighted ball, and Finley Oswald rose up and drove a hard header off the post. VHS dominated the remainder of the first half, forcing the Tarrier keeper into seven saves and controlling 55% of possession, while completing 154 passes to 67 for the Tarriers.
The Tarriers played a direct game, always pushing the ball forward, rarely passing back to settle play and inbounding quickly. Vashon’s defense and midfield kept pushing play to the sides of the field, denying direct offensive strikes except for two occasions where defensive miscues caused by bad skips off the grass forced Pirates’ keeper Rivas to come well off his line and smother the ball with sliding saves. Charles Wright managed only one shot on goal, and the first half ended with the teams tied.
The second half picked up where the first half ended with Vashon dominating with 58% possession and putting together multiple pass strings and Charles Wright countering with vertical passes, hoping for a breakaway. Oswald and Fredy Guitierez controlled the mid-field, and Charles Wright started to commit fouls out of frustration. Vashon looked the stronger team on set pieces, forcing the Tarriers into scrambled recoveries. In the 53rd minute, a good overlapping run by Bellamy Cox-Sitkiewicz resulted in a corner kick. Heuschert floated a ball to the near post; Oswald rose up unopposed and headed the ball straight down and into the goal. The Tarrier keeper could only vainly dive over the ball as it flew under his arms. The Tarriers double- and triple-teamed Tommy Delargy all evening, but had no answer for Oswald, whose goal was the difference in the game. The Tarriers were able to manage only two shots on goal in the second half, and the Pirates left with a strong, 1-0 win, giving Vashon a number-one seed going into the division playoffs.
The Pirates’ opponent for the division playoff was decided on Saturday when Port Townsend played Charles Wright. Charles Wright won on penalty kicks setting up the semi-final game on Vashon — the Pirates hosted the semi-final match of the district tournament on Tuesday at the Vashon High School Stadium (game played after press time) against Charles Wright. It is required that these games be played on artificial turf, and in the past the team had to play them off island.
A victory by the Pirates sends them to the championship on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Orting High School against the winner of the Klahowya – Bellevue Christian game. A division championship would give the Pirates a number one seed in State playoffs and another home game. Go Pirates!
— Written by Johnathan Kott, parent of a VHS soccer player.