Courtesy Photo
Kelly Keenan on the field, with Myra Butler on defense.

Courtesy Photo Kelly Keenan on the field, with Myra Butler on defense.

Girls’ soccer shows grit and grace in first loss of season

The team finally faced the only other undefeated team in the league Saturday afternoon.

  • Wednesday, October 6, 2021 3:53pm
  • Sports

Coming off of a 5-0 win over Seattle Christian in a Sept. 27 away game, the Vashon High School Girls’ soccer team finally faced the only other undefeated team in the league Saturday afternoon.

A large contingency of Klahowya High School fans filled Vashon’s home stands, claiming they didn’t like the look of our visitor bleachers (ironically, Klahowya doesn’t even have a visitor section). Tensions were running high as everyone knew this game would likely predict the winner of the Nisqually League for the season.

The Klahowya Eagles took control of the game immediately, firing off two shots on goal in the first few minutes. Sophomore goalie Zoe Nowicki was able to make both saves, giving Vashon time to adjust to the pace being set by Klahowya. The Pirates managed to hold off the Eagle’s offense for just 13 minutes though — when one of the Klahowya’s forwards followed in on a rebounded shot in a play that left two Vashon defenders on the ground and the ball in the net. Despite protests from coach Scott Nicolino, the referee let the goal stand and Klahowya took an early lead, putting Vashon behind for the first time this season.

Just five minutes later, Klahowya was on the attack again, this time dribbling through the Vashon midfield and chipping the ball over a defender to send in a low ball to the far corner, doubling the lead.

Undaunted, Vashon responded as senior midfielder and co-captain Phoebe Wilke brought the ball down towards the Vashon goal for the first time during the game. She was able to pass the ball between two defenders into the box where sophomore forward Olivia Boyes was waiting for it. Taking one or two quick touches, Boyes sent in almost an identical shot to the previous goal, hoping to reach the far corner to put Vashon on the board. Unfortunately, the shot went just wide of the goal.

Vashon was at it again just a few minutes later, this time coming down the right side of the field. Freshman forward Besa Hruska fired off a powerful shot from the top of the box only to have it bounce off the crossbar.

Vashon’s defense continued to hold Klahowya at 2-0 for most of the remainder of the first half. Unable to get back in the box, the Eagles resorted to lobbing in long balls, but none of them were on frame. Just before the whistle, one of their midfielders took one last chance from the 35-yard line and finally managed to get a ball in over Nowicki’s head.

Now leading by three, Klahowya began the second half at a less intense pace. Neither team made much headway into either goalbox for a solid 20 minutes. On two different occasions, Klahowya was awarded free kicks just outside of the box, shanking one and having junior Kate Spranger heading the other away.

Klahowya did not give up, and with less than 10 minutes left, worked their way into the box again. Persistent defending from junior Myra Butler cut off any routes to the goal and Klahowya was awarded the first corner kick of the entire game. In a well-rehearsed set-piece, the kicker sent a perfectly placed ball right in front of the box that was headed in to increase their lead to four.

Just a few minutes later, Klahowya attacked from the left side, drawing all of Vashon’s defenders to that side of the box, leaving the goal wide open. One of Klahowya’s forwards was able to tap in an easy goal and suddenly they were up by five.

Vashon fought until the very end of the game just to get on the board but did not capitalize on any opportunities as they neared the goal, choosing to send in long balls from outside the box, rather than finish with a clinical shot on goal. The final score remained Klahowya 5 and Vashon 0.

The Pirates will defend their second-place position in the league facing Life Christian Academy, at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, at home.

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