By JOE SUTTON-HOLCOMB
Vashon High School Riptide Reporter
With 10 victories and only a single loss under its belt this season, the Pirates varsity soccer team is in first place in the Nisqually 1A league, a position which automatically qualifies the team to participate in the district playoffs. Vashon High School has not won the league championship in more than 20 years.
But why is the team performing so well this year? What changes occurred since the previous season that find it so firmly at the top of its bracket?
Paul Beytebiere, the team’s longtime coach, thinks the secret lies in the relationship of the teammates, many of whom have been playing together for years.
“I started working with these boys when they were in seventh grade, and now they are the nucleus of the team,” said Beytebiere. “This is the year we have been waiting for.”
The team currently has seven senior boys. Many of these players have worked with Beytebiere since their second year of middle school. And they have been playing on the varsity team since they were freshmen.
Along with experience comes leadership.
“The keeper Byron Starkey keeps the confidence up in the back,” said Beytebiere. “And Jason Corrales-Diaz has really stepped up his leadership in the past few weeks.”
Beytebiere also spoke very highly of team captain Chris Cacciapaglia, who usually plays in the midfield. He also mentioned that Matt Carlander, Jamie O’Neill and Derek Reinelt, all longtime team members, have played with distinction this year.
“Chris has been a fantastic player this year. He motivates the players on the pitch through his game play,” Beytebiere said.
Beytebiere said he believes this year’s team has the potential to play competitively in district and state competition, both coming up soon.
“I think it would be a challenge for any team,” said Beytebiere. “But we have been working on this for years. We can do it if we are healthy and play up to par.”
But Beytebiere added that he didn’t spend a lot of time analyzing the strategies of competing teams.
“If we play our game, and we play our style, to our ability, I don’t worry too much about the other team,” said Beytebiere.
“They are a great team to watch, they’re just a great bunch of players,” said Beytebiere. “And there have never been any discipline problems.”
Vashon played a final league match against Charles Wright on Tuesday, too late for the results to be in today’s Beachcomber. The outcome of that match will decide where Vashon places in the Nisqually 1A division.