The Vashon Girls soccer team is on a roll, winning five of their last six games and playing their archrival, Bellevue Christian, to a draw. They are 10-2-1 at this point in the season and have outscored their opponents 48-6.
The Pirates are currently in second place in the Nisqually division, behind last year’s state champions, Klahowya. The two teams will face off, potentially for the division championship, this week.
The Pirates’ recent game against Bellevue Christian was the highlight of the past few weeks. as the two teams have been evenly matched for several years. Bellevue won their last meeting 2-1.
Vashon High student Oscar Lopez, who has called all the games this season, was in the stands with his headset, microphone and transmission gear broadcasting the game live on Voice of Vashon. Listeners know that Oscar knows his soccer as a fan, a ref and a player. His commentary is lively, picturesque and compelling listening.
The game started off like a lamb with the first half ending like a lion and Vashon leading 1-0 on a beautiful left footed off-balance top shelf goal by Senior Linnea Heuschert.
Heuschert’s goal was her 12th of the season, tying her with fellow Seniors Alanna Bass and Olivia Boyes who also have 12. The three have been an offensive power trio all year, wreaking havoc on opposing keepers.
The Pirates started the second half equally hot, with Heuschert’s foot still on fire, blasting a ferocious free kick from 25 yards away which was just tipped over the top bar by the Bellevue keeper.
Rarely does a referee decide a game, but they certainly can influence it. Bellevue was the beneficiary of several questionable calls, including a particularly dodgy foul called on Vashon with 15 minutes remaining in the game that led to a free kick.
Vashon keeper, Ivy Staczek, has been very stingy all year, but the Bellevue kick was too much — knotting the score at 1-1.
The Pirates played on their heels the rest of the game with the Viking goal seemingly taking away the swagger that they’d played with for the first 65 minutes. Offensively, they couldn’t get anything going except nerves and flustered passing.
On defense, ninth grader Lillith Provo has been a stalwart all year. Special moves are required to beat her off her position. Despite 15 minutes of nonexistent offense to end the game, fellow defensive players Zoe Nowicki and Meah Mcinerney joined Provo to shut down the Vikings. Bellevue couldn’t muster the speed or skill to beat them or do any further damage. The game ended tied at one.
Five of the eight teams in the division are basically cannon fodder for Klahowya, Bellevue Christian, and Vashon. The Bellevue match and the upcoming contest against Klahowya are tone setters for all three teams as they head into the playoffs, where they will certainly be competing against strong teams from throughout the state.
Coach Nicolino needs to prepare the Pirates both physically and mentally for the playoffs. The girls will have to play mentally tough with extra effort for the full 80 minutes to proceed deep into the tournament.
Mike Spranger is the father of a Vashon soccer team athlete.