Ryan Krug Memorial Cup honors beloved islander, raises money

This year’s hotly-contested match featured the Nisqually 1A champion Boys’ Pirates varsity soccer team battling a mostly middle-aged adult drop-in team.

The friendly confines of Vashon High School’s Pirates Stadium played host last Sunday, June 5, to the 10th annual Ryan Krug Memorial Cup.

Each year this soccer match gives the community a chance to remember and honor the late Ryan Belknap Krug, son of Rich and Rose Krug, who tragically passed away in a car accident in 2013. Ryan was no stranger to the soccer pitch and will long be remembered as an outstanding athlete, an accomplished musician, a strong student and a solid member of the Vashon community.

The match itself serves as a fundraiser for the Ryan Krug Memorial Scholarship fund. Men compete for roster slots and starting positions with their donations, this year totaling more than $4,700. All donations are managed by the Vashon Community Scholarship Foundation and it’s never too late to donate at vashonscholarshipfoundation.org/donations. Each year the Krugs award three scholarships, with one each to a boy and girl soccer player, and the third to a musician.

This year’s hotly-contested match featured the Nisqually 1A champion Boys’ Pirates varsity soccer team battling a mostly middle-aged adult drop-in team. As befitting their more-experienced status, after having been soundly beaten last year, the drop-in team wisely recruited several younger players to “round out” the roster including recent VHS graduates Richard Rivas (keeper), Finley Oswald, Cooper Crosby, Ezra Koenig, Peter Amick and in the first-but-hopefully-not-last inclusion of a coed player, Jane Oswald.

This year’s adult team was coached by Caz Mozeleski, who might not have been adequately warned that the lowest winning bidder earns the coaching assignment. The Pirates were coached by a combination of Shanti Escovedo, Darragh Kennan and Sherriff Grey.

Play started promptly at 11 a.m. with a whistle from center referee Jim Westcott, ably assisted by Oscar Lopez, Avery MacLean, and Quill Tegenfeldt. The adult team was the first on the scoreboard through excellent buildup, up the wing, where Chance Mentink passed to Finley Oswald, whose cross led to a snap shot by Issac Tanner. Keeper Evan Keppler made a fine save, but the resulting deflection was driven into the back of the net by Oli Christopherson. 1-0 adults.

Later in the first half, Ezra Koenig found some space in the middle of the field and slipped a perfect pass through to Finley Oswald who buried his shot to extend the adult team’s lead to 2-0. The remainder of the first half saw several fast breaks by the Pirates, including a breakaway opportunity into the penalty box that drew a well-timed, referee-approved slide tackle from centerback Andy Casey to keep the clean sheet for the adults into halftime.

Halftime gave everyone, including the 100 or so spectators in the stadium, a chance to catch their breath and a chance for Rose and Rich, with their daughter Savannah, to thank everyone for their participation in this year’s event. In Rose’s words, “This is something that makes the world a better place, truly a bright spot for our family. I know Ryan is looking down right now and smiling seeing all of you here today.”

With a blast of the whistle, the second half was underway, and it didn’t take long for the Pirates to take advantage of the adult team’s slow start by earning a penalty kick for a handball call in the box. The clean sheet came to an end with Keeper Keppler coming forward for the Pirates to bury a penalty kick past the adult keeper. 2-1 adults, with momentum on the side of the Pirates as play started again.

The Pirates kept up the pressure and the adult team was kept in the game only through the heroics of keeper Richard Rivas, whose diving saves brought the crowd to life. Then, against the run of play, Peter Amick headed home a well-placed corner kick from Oli Christopherson to re-establish the two-goal margin: 3-1 adults.

Demonstrating the grit that saw them into the State Cup tournament this year, the Pirates kept up the battle and late in the second half, some excellent wing play by Rowen Marceau-Roache set up Bellamy Cox-Sitkiewicz whose slaloming run resulted in a cracker of a goal past the adult keeper. 3-2 adults and game on!

The Pirates resumed efforts to break through to the adult team’s goal, and late in the second half drew a yellow card out of centerback Rex McFarlin for a tactical foul just outside the box. Unfortunately for the Pirates, that was their last opportunity to change the scoreline, as shortly thereafter the adults scored the final goal through a top-corner, cobweb-clearing blast from Finley Oswald. 4-2 adults, final score.

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who participated in, supported and cheered at this year’s Ryan Krug Memorial Cup. We hope to see you and indeed everyone at next year’s match. The demonstration of sportsmanship, community spirit and respect serves as a fitting tribute to Ryan’s memory. Godspeed, Ryan, you are missed.

Shanti Escovedo and Darragh Kennan contributed to this article.