VHS soccer player Linnea Heuschert dribbles the ball up the field (John Jeffcoat Photo).

VHS soccer player Linnea Heuschert dribbles the ball up the field (John Jeffcoat Photo).

There’s Plenty To Cheer About as Pirates, Mustangs Play Ball

Strong performances by cross country, tennis and soccer teams.

  • Thursday, March 18, 2021 5:10pm
  • Sports

CROSS COUNTRY

The Mustang and Pirate harriers enter their final week of races on high notes as both had impressive athlete performances and team scores last week, under sunny skies.

Last Friday saw more successful racing for the Pirates on a hilly 5k course in Bellevue’s Robinswood Park. Freshman Madeline Yarkin extended her win streak in another hard-fought footrace against a Charles Wright senior, leading from gun to tape, and increasing the spread on every lap of the three-lap course to win with a gap of 18 seconds.

In the men’s race, team captain Ursa Medeiros returned from an injury to lead the team again, racing to sixth place after a month-long absence. Medeiros was aided by a strong performance from his team to place third in the seven school meet.

The Mustangs traveled to Tacoma’s Titlow Park last Wednesday to showcase another impressive performance by seventh-grader Bodie Thomas in an outright win by his own 18 seconds, over the hilly 1.47-mile course, along with another team win by the girls.

The races were run in multiple waves due to COVID restrictions. The first wave saw Thomas and seventh-grader Cecilia Guenther run strong to start the Mustang dominance in the first wave, with the rest of the Mustang harriers running in their own third wave due to a late arrival from a ferry overloading issue.

The boys’ team finished second behind Seattle Christian, helped by scoring support from sixth graders Josh Healey and Brent Calhoun, with five more Mustangs crossing the line, to prevail against Annie Wright, Cascade Christian and Life Christian.

Once again, the girls’ team pulled out a win over the four other schools, led by seventh-grader Emily Harrington, followed by Guenther and eighth-grader Laurel Calhoun. The top three were supported by three more Mustangs, with sixth-graders Daisy Jones and Marianna Daly both finishing ahead of Cascade Christian’s third runner, pushing the Cougars down further in scoring.

The Mustangs closed out their season with a last race at Titlow Park on Tuesday before press time, and the Pirates close their season at Pt. Defiance Park on Thursday, March 18.

— Bruce Cyra, Mustang Cross Country Coach

TENNIS

Pirate tennis entered the fifth week of the season unbeaten, but barely so — every match had resulted in an incredibly narrow win with no margin for victory. Vashon faced their two toughest league rivals back to back on Thursday and Friday in matches that should tell a lot about the team. So the week was important for finishing strong, maintaining the team’s record and for building confidence and seeding positions going into the league tournament.

First up was a Charles Wright team which gave the Pirates a tough match last meeting. The rematch was at CW and outdoors for a change. Playing outdoors was a pleasure and it allowed players to have family and friends see them play for the first time all year.

Last match, CW dominated the singles, but at Number 1 Singles Evan Kepplar played a far better match and was leading 6-2, 4-4 when the long tough match was called due to a lack of time.

At number 2 Singles, Colin McIntyre played his first singles match and did a great job against a very tough and experienced CW player despite losing in straight sets. Vashon shifted their doubles slightly and all three teams won handily. Zach Van Dusen/ Lucas Schoenberg showed a lot of potential at Number 1 winning 6-0, 10-5. John Maciejewski/Danny Baldinger took a solid 6-2 6-2 win at Number 2, and Finn Hawkins/Davis Rice completed the doubles sweep at Number 3. Despite CW missing a few players, the Pirates looked much stronger than in their first matchup and a 3-1 was more comfortable than they have grown accustomed to over the season.

On Friday the Pirates played Cascade Christian indoors at Jupiter Tennis Center. Vashon jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back, winning 5-0. In singles, Evan Kepplar won 6-1, 6-2. Playing his second singles match Colin McIntyre looked very comfortable winning 6-3,6-2. In Number 1 doubles Zach Van Dusen/Lucas Schoenberg took out the previously unbeaten CC team 6-1,6-2. Number 2 doubles John Maciejewski/Danny Baldinger followed with a 6-0, 6-1 victory. Not to be outdone, Finn Hawkins/Davis Rice played a clean match, winning 6-0,6-1. Also recording wins were Hatcher Freda/Ryder Jones and Danny Boyle.

With the two wins, the team stayed unbeaten on the season and clinched the Nisqually League regular-season title. This was a very nice result for a team that really has improved significantly over a short season. Next week the team wraps up the regular season with a Wednesday match against Life Christian. On Friday and Saturday, the team sends its top two singles players and doubles teams to the League Tournament. In normal years a top 2 placing at League/Districts would land a coveted spot in the State Tournament. Since there is no State Tournament due to the shortened season a good result in the Tournament would be a nice finish to the season. The League tournament should be quite competitive and Vashon loses some of their advantages for fielding a deep team — but last week’s results are a positive sign.

— Pat Mulvihill, Coach

SOCCER

The Vashon Island High School Girls’ soccer team traveled to Marymoor Park on March 9 to play Bellevue Christian, in hopes of gaining the chance to secure the Number One seed spot in the Nisqually League regular season. However, Bellevue Christian was not ready to give up its first-place ranking.

Both teams battled for control of the ball throughout the first half, struggling to gain any momentum and create any real opportunities to score. Finally, a full 30 minutes into the first half, Junior forward and co-captain, Phoebe Wilke drew a foul and Vashon was awarded a free kick about ten feet outside of the goal box. Freshman midfielder Linnea Heuschert took the kick and narrowly missed the goal, the ball clearing it by just inches. One minute later, Bellevue won a corner kick and was able to score with a well-placed ball that curved and landed just inside the goal.

The second half looked much like the first, as both teams fought for possession of the ball. Bellevue’s captain, senior forward Rylee Reese, was finally able to make a run up the left side of the field all the way into the box and sent a low ball just past Vashon’s goalie, senior co-captain, Tamsen Henry.

Although Vashon rallied for several opportunities — a shot fired by Wilke that bounced off the far post, another free kick taken by Heuschert that was bobbled and dropped by the goalie, and a melee in front of the goal after a corner kick in the final minutes — the Pirates could not get on the scoreboard. Bellevue Christian solidified their first seed position with the win, 0-2 over Vashon.

On March 11, Vashon hosted Cascade Christian for their final home game of the regular season. The game started off with a bang as Phoebe Wilke fired off a shot in just the first minute that bounced off the crossbar. Just a few minutes later, junior forward Franki Brown was able to send in an identical shot from the right that went in just over the goalkeeper’s fingertips.

The Pirates kept the pressure up and won a corner kick in the 29th minute. Heuschert took the kick, gifting senior forward Payton Venturi with a beautiful ball that landed right in front of the goal. Venturi tapped it in to increase Vashon’s lead to 2-0.

Half time was used to recognize the team’s two lone seniors, Tamsen Henry and Payton Venturi. Both students have played on the varsity team since their freshman year. Henry was named to the Nisqually All-League 2nd Teams as both a freshman and a sophomore. Last season, Venturi was also given that honor, and Henry was named to the 1st Team, as well as, Goalkeeper of the Year.

The team took the field eager to score again in the second half. Play was punctuated by excited yells and groans from the crowd about every two minutes as multiple players fired off shots and cross into the box. But Cascade Christian’s goalie was determined not to get scored on again. Although the pace slowed down a bit to near misses every four or five minutes, Vashon certainly kept the crowd entertained right up until the end, winning the game 2-0.

Heading into the modified post-season, Vashon expects to meet Cascade Christian again in the semi-finals on March 17, at home. The winner will go on to play in the Nisqually League finals on March 19.

— Jenni Wilke, parent


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