Vashon soccer continues league unbeaten streak

The Pirates sit atop the Nisqually league with an 8-0-1 record.

With five league games to go in the VHS Boys’ soccer regular season, the Pirates sit atop the Nisqually league with an 8-0-1 record.

Recent wins against Charles Wright (4-0), Cascade Christian (4-1) and Klahowya (6-0) have found the squad in top form. With a strong amount of positional depth, the 2022 team plays a possession-oriented style of play.

“We’ve all been working to drive the ball across the field [east to west] to open up defensive gaps,” said Ellis Cudaback, a sophomore midfielder.

The Pirates have been seeing results and are led in goals (10) by junior Moses Trundle-Strachan, but many others have a handful of goals each too, including Nick Zuckerman, Enrico Trevisan, Evan Serebryakov and Bellamy Cox-Sitkiewicz.

“Our attack can come from anyone. We have a lot of strong finishers,” said junior, Leo Neidinger.

With a strong defensive line, Vashon has allowed only three goals in the past ten games.

“We have really been working hard to develop our own style of play,” says Captain Evan Keppler, who plans to attend the University of Washington in the fall. “We clearly control most of every game, now we just need to build more consistency for the entire 80 minutes. As the keeper, I see the whole field so I command accordingly.”

Developing structure in ball movement is important in soccer and the pattern of play requires timing and coordination. Sophomore Orion Knowler has been a stand-out this season, shutting down opponent strikers game after game.

“I just step in and anticipate the pass before the striker can collect the ball. Because we like to attack out of the back, I just love it,” said Knowler.

Vashon’s left-back is Teo Eckardt, who will be attending Colorado School of Mines next year and has been a solid contributor for the past few years for the Pirates.

Center-back Levi Stahl organizes the back and has been finding success pressing into the midfield. When the Pirates go into full-press, Stahl has been instrumental in sorting and organizing to try and pen in and trap the opponent. Stahl looks to be playing at Lewis & Clark College, in Portland, next year.

On attack, the Pirates are beginning to find their form.

“We’ve been working on finding the third man in our training, which really makes defending us a challenge,” said junior, Oliver Churchill.

“Third man passing” is when a player passes to a teammate and then slashes through the opponent line. The ball is then dropped quickly to a third man, who finds the original player in his slashing run with a penetrating pass.

When the boys put the sequence together, it is a beautiful thing to watch. Junior Evan Serebryakov and Freshman Rowan Marceau-Roache have been impactful with lateral runs across the mid-field.

“These runs peel open the defense and we’ve been getting pretty effective with our through passes,” said Serebryakov.

The Pirates have been dominating the midfield in most games, out-possessing opponents two out of three minutes. Nick Zuckerman, Bellamy Cox-Sitkiewicz, Isaac Harrison, Jaime Pereyda and Ellis Cudaback all play in tight formation and rotation.

“We can rotate any of these guys in any position and lose nothing. It is a great group of talented guys. I tell the boys hard-work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard,” said coach Paul Beytebiere. “These boys have talent and they all are working hard. I am proud of all of them.”

To hone their technique for the playoffs, Head Coach Scott Nicolino dropped in a non-league game with Sultan, on April 14 — a school that delivered the Pirates their first loss (1-0) in the past 10 matches.

“It is important that the guys play some of these physical teams in preparation for post-season play,” said Nicolino. “Sultan plays a very tough, direct style of play and we need to learn how to adjust for this kind of opponent. We have a few more tricks up our sleeve and then we’ll just tighten up our technique going into the play-offs.”

The Pirates will play their next home games at the stadium field on Vashon at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, April 28, against East Jefferson.

Vashon will then play Bellevue Christian at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, April 30. VHS and Bellevue Christian tied (0-0) at the beginning of the season. Bellevue is currently sitting in second place right behind the Pirates. The game is shaping up to be a big match for both teams.

Vashon Island Soccer Club will be helping raise money for the VHS soccer program that day by providing refreshments at the game.

The full game schedule can be found at