The VHS varsity boys’ soccer team returned to the pitch for the first time in two years last Tuesday for an away game at Marymoor Park in Bellevue.
Despite the sunny weather, it was clear when looking at the Vashon bench that the pandemic still loomed.
In contrast with the Vashon players and coaches, masks were nowhere to be found on the faces of the Bellevue Christian players or the referees. Since Washington is now in Phase 3, masks are no longer mandatory during play, though they are still required on the sidelines. But despite being legally allowed to remove their masks while playing, most Vashon players remained fully masked throughout the game.
Vashon took the kickoff and had a strong start, controlling the ball and game with well-paced, accurate passes. Senior midfielder Zach Van Dusen took the first shot within minutes of kickoff, narrowly missing the goal, but making it clear that Vashon was going to be a dominant force. Just 13 minutes in, Vashon was able to methodically break down the Bellevue Christian defense with a series of precise, passes before seizing the opportunity to get the ball to sophomore Moses Trundle on the right wing.
Bellevue hastily cleared the ball from the right corner of the field to their keeper. Vashon’s left forward, junior Bellamy Cox, beat the Bellevue keeper and was there to tap in what looked to be a perfect cross by Bellevue’s defense.
With a goal in the net, Vashon appeared confident as the game went on, taking shots and maintaining possession of the ball as Bellevue drew a foul just outside Vashon’s penalty box. Vashon defenders formed a wall, which was effective in keeping the score 1-0.
But the score wouldn’t stay this way for long. Nearly 25 minutes into the first half, senior Chris Fontina took a corner kick, placing a perfect cross to the goal box. Multiple Vashon players were there but it was Van Dusen who ultimately knocked it in. This was the last goal Vashon would score.
Just two minutes after Van Dusen’s goal, Bellevue earned a penalty kick. Vashon players and spectators alike were frustrated by this call resulting from a seemingly legal tackle. Vashon keeper junior Evan Keppler dove to save it but despite his efforts, the ball flew hard and fast past his hands.
While Vashon still dominated the remainder of the first half, Bellevue’s first goal was no doubt a turning point in the game.
As the half wrapped up, Vashon still held a narrow 2-1 lead, and fans were optimistic Vashon could bring home the win and finally defeat Bellevue Christian. Just two weeks ago, the VHS girls varsity soccer team lost in the league championship to Bellevue in a frustrating game after a fierce rivalry all season.
In the second half, Bellevue stepped onto the field with something to prove, and from the get-go, it was clear the dynamic had shifted. Only a minute in, Bellevue earned another penalty kick, which Keppler was able to save. Vashon was still in the lead, but barely.
Minutes later, Bellevue caught Vashon’s defense off guard and ripped a hard shot from the right wing past Vashon’s keeper, bringing the score up to 2-2.
Vashon, a little shaken, struggled to maintain possession. Bellevue, however, had found their rhythm and scored yet again securing a 3-2 lead.
Throughout the second half, neither team had maintained possession as they had in the first half. And as the clock began to tick down, the physicality ramped up. In another questionable call, Vashon defender sophomore Oliver Churchill was given a yellow card and junior Alec Macomber subbed in to replace him for a few minutes before Churchill retook the field.
In the final 30 minutes of the game, Vashon made some solid attacking plays, with shots from Levi Stahl, Bellamy Cox, Eythan Hyllested and Moses Trundle. While none of the shots landed, Vashon’s defense was successful at keeping the score 3-2 the remainder of the half.
In the final minutes, Vashon had their last goal-scoring opportunity; with a brilliant corner by Fontina that resulted in a goal kick for Bellevue. Despite walking off the field defeated, Vashon players remain optimistic about the remainder of the season.
“This game will be beneficial to our season because it brings out our strengths and weaknesses. And it highlights that no team is invincible despite a brilliant first-half performance,” Varsity Captain and senior Jakob Heuschert said.
Heuschert, along with a few other key players, watched from the sidelines due to either injury or ineligibility. The team is hoping to have these players back as soon as possible as their skill and experience is a massive asset to the team.
“I’m super confident about this season,” said Scott Nicolino, head coach for Vashon. “I think we can compete for the championship if we can get healed up in the next few weeks. Health is always a key factor at a 1A school.”
As players recover and Vashon continues to practice hard, the future looks bright for the VHS boys’ varsity team. Vashon will have their second game at 5 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at Charles Wright. The team’s first home game will take place at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, April 15. — Lila Cohen, VHS Student
On Thursday, April 1, Vashon played the first varsity game of the high school baseball season against Bellevue Christian.
The beautiful day was welcomed by a crowd excited to see live baseball again. You couldn’t see their smiles under the masks, but the glint in their eyes revealed how thankful they were to be at Jim Martin Field watching the Pirates run out to their positions.
It was also the first game under new head coach Simon Perrin and assistant coach Greg McElroy. Perrin is a VHS alum and member of the school’s 2016 state championship team.
Some early errors by the Pirates opened up the scoring in the first two innings with Sam Walker on the mound. Finn Hawkins and Will Frith pitched in relief. Overall the pitching for Vashon was solid, but Bellevue Christian’s hitting was a notch better.
Offensively, the Pirates met the challenge of facing Bellevue Christian Senior, left-handed pitcher Davis Franklin. Franklin is a top-rated pitcher in the state, committed to the University of Puget Sound, and was dominating the strike zone.
Coach Perrin said, “I was happy with how our team adjusted to Franklin’s pitching the second time through the line-up.” In the later innings, the Pirates were catching up to Franklin’s pitching, battling with long at-bats and racked up 4 hits.
Maxwell Delgado-Williams busted up Franklin’s no-hitter in the 4th with a single to center and tacked on a stolen base. Finn Schriver eliminated Franklin’s shut out with an RBI double down the right-field line, but the Pirates fell 14-1.
With two more contests against Bellevue Christian this season, the Pirates look forward to taking another crack at Franklin and the Vikings.
The team’s second game took place on April 3 against Overlake/Bear Creek. With some upperclassmen recovering from injuries, the Pirates were fielding a young team.
Coach Perrin commented, “It was good to see the errors cleaned up from the first game, but timely hitting by Overlake with runners on put the game out of reach.”
Sam Walker, Will Weber and Joshua Parrish held down the pitching. The defense did tighten up but Vashon’s bats went quiet and they lost the contest 11-0. Despite a tough first week of games, the team has lots of talent and is poised to gel into a strong new era of Vashon baseball.
The next game is home against Cedar Park Christian, at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at Jim Martin Field. — Eric Frith, parent