The Vultures have started the season strong with big results despite a slim roster.
On Tuesday, Mar. 13, the Vultures doused Sequim 17 to 1. Calvin McMillan opened the scoring about 30 seconds into the season, and the whole team put the hammer down.
Two days later, the Vultures scored 12 at Central Kitsap (that after a 5-0 lead by end of first quarter, after which they took their foot off the gas.) It did get interesting with Central Kitsap getting briefly within 1 goal, and Vashon had to survive a man down situation with a player in the box for an unsportsmanlike conduct call (a usual retaliation.)
Then over the weekend, they saw Sequim again on Friday, Mar. 23, and it was a 14-1 result. Finally, the Vultures saw Klahowya, who has been a perennial rival, and thumped them 19-2.
How have they done this?
First, you don’t start that well without a strong defense. Mason Rice, Joe Ghigleri and Carlos Hernandez are dominating play on the defensive end, giving the opponents no room to breathe (with 15, 16 and 8 ground balls respectively.)
Sophomore Dom Nagle and freshman Fin McClure are stepping up big time. Only four games in, and McClure looks pretty comfortable taking face-offs. He’s working on a patent for the quick stick flick ball out back between the legs, and Paris Brown is right there timing his run to grab that ball out of the air. Downright ballaretic between the two of them. McClure and Nagle have 20 and 19 ground balls respectively.
On offense, during these games the scores could have been run up through individual skills, but were not. Despite these score-lines, the offense worked on team play. Brown has played a major role, both dominating in midfield on ground balls with 25, but also leading the team in assists with 13 in addition to his 9 goals. The team goals for the most part have been from well worked offensive plays, whipping the ball from player to player with other players moving to space until they break down the defense for an easy final shot. They have certainly taken advantage of midfield breakdowns, with counter attacks at speed against outgunned defenses. Max Schira, Cal McMillan and Kiryk Mozeleski are dominating offensively, with 42 goals, 18 assists and 41 ground balls among them. Jake Carmen has 7 goals, 4 assists and 9 ground balls.
With a small roster all the players are doing their part. The rest of the freshman have come in and filled in gaps, notably Yury Coucoules on offense with three assists. Finally, let us not forget the goalies Duncan McMillan and Mitchell Nye. In a preseason write-up from WALAX (Washington Lacrosse), a coach wistfully sent McMillan off to college this year, but the reports of his leaving high school early “were greatly exaggerated,” and he is setting the standard for goalkeeping in the league with a 67 percent save rate (just a handful of goalies in the state play at this level.) Mitchell is right there with him. As the backup and with less playing time, he is at 100 percent on his saves. Given the small roster, both are finding themselves with “short sticks” in their hands, getting field playing time as well.
Starting next week will be a string of games that will challenge the team. They play Liberty High School there, then Peninsula, and Gig Harbor at home. Last year the team just couldn’t get by those last two teams despite having leads in several of the games. These upcoming games will test the resolve, resilience and upper class leadership to find out just what this team is made of.
Come on out on Monday April 2 and Wednesday, April 4, to see Vashon play Peninsula and Gig Harbor at home, 6:30 p.m. at the high school stadium field.
— Greg Martin is the father of a lacrosse player.