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Vashon Cobras Soccer Team Open Season with Shutout

Ian De Graff moves the ball forward for the Vashon Cobras U 13 select soccer team.  Sam Briggs is defending in the background. Photo by Michael Elenko

Vashon’s U-13 Boys Select Soccer Team (Cobras) opened their season against Sparta99 with a stunning victory two weeks ago in Tacoma.

Sparta’s attackers had the advantage of size and aggressive, physical play over the Cobras. However, Cobras defended well with quickness, agility and with purpose.

Opening score came within 12-minutes from a foul on Cobras‘ team captain, Sam Briggs. Noah Edmonds took the direct kick from 24 yards out and placed it in the upper left corner over the opponent’s wall.

Cobras’ second goal came in the 20-minute mark when Ian DeGraff collected the ball past midfield and fended off three defenders to punch the ball at the goal. It was deflected by the keeper, but DeGraff showed great tenacity and followed it in diving to the ground knocking the ball past the pile of defenders.

Cobras’ goalkeeper, Max Schira, stood his ground the entire game. The opponents only real threat was foiled with an impressive diving save by Schira from a kick 10-yards out.

Vashon looked comfortable in a defensive posture for the remaining minutes of the first half and denied other real scoring opportunities around midfield. They lead at half time, 2-0.

Sparta intensified physical play and hard challenges from the beginning of the second half as evidenced by more fouls called and warning given. Sasha Elenko was hit hard on a touch line challenge and was fortunately able to shake it off and play on.

Minutes later, Alden Hinden-Stevenson came out with a heel injury and Cobras played their only substitute. At one point, they temporarily played down by two due to minor injuries.

Forwards and midfielders pulled up higher and defended well. A Yellow Card was shown to Sparta after sustained dangerous tackles around the 40th minute.

Although the second half was mostly a defensive game for Vashon, they had three goal scoring opportunities on break-away runs. In the last few minutes, Diego Gray collected the ball at the midfield line and made a run down the left touch line. He sent a long, left-footed volley just over the top bar from 18-yards out. The game ended 2-0.

Coaches Jeff Stevenson and Pete were pleased with the team’s defense, attack and work rate. They agreed they must keep the team healthy and injury free to have a successful season. The team started with 14 players, but lost two to off island teams. Having one substitute will be challenging with 6 players not at full strength, they said.