The Vashon High School Girls’ Soccer team hosted Cascade Christian for their first home game on Monday, Sept. 13.
Typically a playoffs contender in the Nisqually League, Cascade struggled to field a full team and only brought 10 players to the game. Unsurprisingly, the Pirates took control right from the start, sending in several shots on goal and winning three corner kicks in the first five minutes.
Sophomore midfielder and co-captain Linnea Heuschert finally found the back of the net in the seventh minute, taking a long shot from 35 yards out, off an assist from senior midfielder and fellow captain Phoebe Wilke. Shortly after that, sophomore center forward Olivia Boyes settled a ball at the top of the box and doubled Vashon’s lead.
Vashon continued to hold possession of the ball, with defenders only getting an opportunity to play when teammates passed back to set up a play. Cascade Christian’s goalie made several strong saves, keeping the game from being a total blowout, in the first fifteen minutes. However, she was unable to keep her hands on a powerful shot sent in by Wilke.
When the ball rebounded in front of the goal, senior Franki Brown was there to tap it in. Just before the half, junior forward Hanifa Khidr brought the score to 4-0, receiving the ball from a throw-in and dribbling between two defenders before taking her signature low and slicing shot to the far corner.
In a show of good sportsmanship, Vashon dropped to ten players in the second half, but this still made little difference in the lopsided game. Vashon managed to cross two balls right in front of Cascade’s goal in the first minute. Shortly after that, Brown capitalized on another rebounded shot, this time from sophomore forward Mallory Keenan’s attempt, putting Vashon up 5-0.
One of Cascade’s defenders went down in the 52nd minute and had to leave the field, dropping the team’s roster to just nine players. Again, demonstrating good sportsmanship, Vashon pulled another player from the field in an attempt to keep the game even. It took about ten minutes for Vashon to adjust to playing 9 verus 9 and create scoring opportunities again. Finally, in the 65th minute, sophomore defender Alana Bass carried the ball all the way up the field, racing past Cascade’s midfield and defense, and found herself alone with the goalie in the box. Although she was unable to finish, this put the ball in a strong position for senior defensive midfielder Lucy Wing. She expertly moved the ball back into the box and scored Vashon’s sixth goal of the night.
The cheers for the last goal had barely ended before Khidr disrupted a pass between two Cascade players and was given a dangerous amount of space — allowing her to cut into the box again, scoring an almost identical goal to her shot in the first half.
Vashon easily held their 7-0 lead, closing the game in the last five minutes with a bittersweet farewell to starting keeper sophomore Ivy Staczek, who will have to leave the team due to scheduling conflicts with her off-island school.
Just two days later, Vashon faced the Eatonville Cruisers again in another friendly match, this time at home. Apparently smarting from their 9-0 defeat, Eatonville seemed determined to avoid a repeat, playing very aggressively from the first whistle. And for the first 20 minutes, their strategy was effective allowing Vashon only one shot on goal, from sophomore Olivia Boyes, that unfortunately bounced off the crossbar.
However, something clicked in that 20th minute, and the game began to take a familiar turn. Senior Franki Brown and freshman forward Besa Hruska gracefully passed the ball through the Eatonville midfield, setting up sophomore Olivia Boyes for a perfect shot to finally put Vashon on the scoreboard.
Just two minutes later, junior Hanifa Khidr was able to settle the ball off of a long clearance from an Eatonville defender, dribbling all the way down to the goal line. Miraculously, her shot still found the back of the net even though it was taken from such a tight angle. Not four minutes later, sophomore Linnea Heuschert took one of her characteristic long shots from way outside the box only to have it bounce off the crossbar. Luckily, sophomore Mallory Keenan was there to send the rebounding ball back in, increasing Vashon’s lead to 3-0. In the 30th minute, Heuschert found herself wide open again on the 25-yard line, and this time she was successful.
Eatonville, undoubtedly stunned by the swift change in the game, in just ten minutes, redoubled their efforts — managing to finally bring the ball all the way into the box and causing Vashon’s defense to hustle back to defend the goal. Amidst the crowded confusion, a handball was called and Eatonville was awarded a penalty kick. To her credit, sophomore goalie Zoe Nowicki was able to read the player’s intention and did dive to the right in an attempt to block the ball. Unfortunately, it was well placed beyond her reach in the corner and Eatonville went into halftime trailing Vashon by three.
The Pirates came out fighting in the second half and within the first minute, Khidr had control of the ball bringing it down the right side of the field. Seeing Boyes open at the top box, Khidr passed it to her, allowing Boyes to dribble past the remaining three defenders and sending an unstoppable shot into the upper right corner.
Vashon held their 5-1 lead for the rest of the game, taking the opportunity to rotate in all of their players, allowing them to get valuable playing time passing and moving the ball down the field.
With their conference record now 2-0, Vashon is tied with Klahowya at the top of the table.