By Jenni Wilke
For The Beachcomber
Continuing their winning streak on the road, the Vashon Island High School Girls’ Soccer Team decisively defeated Charles Wright 10-0 on Monday, Oct. 4.
Senior midfielder and co-captain Phoebe Wilke scored the first goal, assisted by sophomore Kate Spranger. Senior forward Cait Jeffcoat also racked up a hat trick in the first half. With a comfortable lead, Coach Scott Nicolino allowed defenders to play up — and junior Leah Gross, junior Myra Butler, and sophomore Alana Bass were among the goal scorers in the second half.
After this match, the team felt confident facing Bellevue Christian, at home, on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Due to sustaining a head injury in practice, sophomore goalie Zoe Nowicki was on the bench, and sophomore Kate Spranger bravely volunteered to fill the position.
Winning a throw-in close to the goal in the first minute of the game, Bellevue was able to get the ball in the box as Vashon’s defensive midfield struggled to maintain coverage. This caused the defensive line to step up leaving dangerous space for Bellevue to make a play. Seeing a small opening, Bellevue’s center forward slotted the ball into the net.
Spranger was tested again making several impressive saves in the first twenty minutes. Vashon’s offense failed to capitalize on the opportunity to equalize, mostly due to Bellevue’s defense reading and disrupting passes. In the 22nd minute, sophomore forward Olivia Boyes finally got close to the box, coming in from the left. Seeing junior forward Hanifa Khidr positioned at the top of the box, Boyes chose to pass rather than take the shot.
Unfortunately, Khidr’s shot was off target and Vashon still trailed by one.
Fifteen minutes later, senior midfielder Lucy Wing maneuvered through three players to get the ball to freshman forward, Besa Hruska, in the box. Hruska’s shot was on target, but Bellevue’s goalie was able to get a hand on it, pushing it wide of the net. Two minutes after that, Boyes was back in the box, this time directly in front of the goal — Bellevue did some frantic defending and cleared the ball before she could take a shot. Finally, just seconds before the whistle, sophomore midfielder and co-captain Linnea Heuschert sent in a long ball from outside the box, but again it went wide of the net.
During halftime, Vashon players reminded each other to control the pace of the game, keeping play more relaxed, focused and intentional. With all of this in mind, Vashon came out in the second half ready to score. Within four minutes, sophomore forward Mallory Keenan found herself in a scoring opportunity only to have her shot go wide.
Bellevue’s focus seemed to be to strengthen their defense and protect their lead. On the few occasions they managed to get the ball down the field, their forwards only risked taking long outside shots — “wasting opportunities,” in the words of their coach.
Partway through the second half, Coach Nicolino moved Wilke up from the defensive line in hopes that she could help Vashon finally score. Despite several runs up the left side of the field resulting in crosses and chips into the box, Wilke was unable to connect with any Vashon players in the middle. Finally, in the 54th minute, senior Franki Brown received the ball from Wilke right in front of the goal and tried to tap it in. The crowd groaned as the ball went just over the crossbar.
The Pirates reached deep inside of them and played their hearts out the last ten minutes of the game, but it just wasn’t their night. Bellevue Christian notched the win with a final score of 1-0.
Two nights later, the team took on Life Christian Academy, again at home. Taking early control of the game, Vashon displayed their strong passing game and set up several pretty shots easily winning 8-0. Khidr, Boyes, and Brown each scored one goal apiece. Heuschert was able to claim a brace, while Hruska scored her first hat trick of the season.
The team has several more games on the road until their last regular-season home game Monday, Oct. 25, against Seattle Christian. The kick-off is at 5:45 p.m.