Rivals soccer team falls short in final home game

Posted 10/29/21

The Rivals girls soccer team faced Vashon Island on Thursday, losing 3-0 to move to a 4-5-3 record on the year.

The match started off at a blistering pace as attackers on both teams flew across …

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Rivals soccer team falls short in final home game

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The Rivals girls soccer team faced Vashon Island on Thursday, losing 3-0 to move to a 4-5-3 record on the year.

The match started off at a blistering pace as attackers on both teams flew across the field, opening up passing lanes and opportunities to score.

Rival sophomore midfielder Ava Shiflett and freshman midfielder Calia Corden displayed flashy moves to cut through the opposing defenders like a hot knife through butter.

Although the Rivals were making half-chances with long through-balls to the net, Vashon Island’s defensive unit kept East Jefferson at bay.

Vashon scored first with a breakaway run that was slotted into the bottom left corner of the goal with 30 minutes remaining in the first half.

EJ Head Coach Robert Cantley raised his arms in protest, exclaiming to the referee that Vashon had a handball before scoring the first goal.

The referee swiftly responded to Cantley, flashing a yellow card toward the coach for mouthing off.

Looking to equalize, the Rivals responded with a team display of passes toward the wing. Junior left winger Kaylen Pray ran down the sideline looking to finish a pass down the left end, but was interrupted by a sliding Vashon goalkeeper who abruptly terminated the scoring chance.

Vashon started to control the flow of the match, intercepting multiple passes from Rivals players and eventually scoring a second goal to put Vashon ahead by 2-0 late into the first half. The halftime whistle blew and the EJ players entered the locker room hoping to strategize for a second-half comeback.

As both teams re-entered the soccer field to start the second half, rain started to pour down. Vashon continued to control possession early in the second half, slicing the Rivals’ defense to add a third goal to the scoreboard after around 10 minutes of play.

Although the game was well out of reach, the Rivals were playing for pride and started shifting momentum midway through the second half.

EJ’s defense held steady as senior goalkeeper Savanna Hoffmannn saved multiple shots from entering the net. Rivals defenders and midfielders upped the aggression, forcing the ball out of their end and earning a couple of yellow cards along the way. Sophomore defender Mi Amada Lanphear Ramirez raced across the field, pressuring Vashon Island players and forcing turnovers. The Rivals offense made their way upfield passing multiple through-balls to the goalkeeper’s box, but failed to convert any chances in front of the opposing goalkeeper.

Although EJ’s late resurgence didn’t amount to any goals, the players left the field after the final whistle with their chins up and their respect earned.

“What I like to see is the response, the character, to show some fight back. They did that, so I’m proud of them for that,” Cantley said.

“I was hoping we could at least get a goal, but Vashon is a pretty good team. It just wasn’t happening for us tonight,” he said.

Cantley praised the girls for their no-quit spirit, especially considering the team was without their talisman forward and senior captain Clare Johnson, who was sidelined with an injury.

“I really liked our tenacity and our aggression from the get-go. We have a problem of starting games slow, and then we’ve got to build our way back into it so we just want to be able to, from the first whistle, just keep going,” Cantley said.

After the game, senior players were awarded bouquets and applause from the crowd for the last home game of the season.

Seniors Clare Johnson, Savanna Hoffmann, and Aurin Asbell stood in front of the home crowd as Cantley praised the girls for being anchors of the team.

Some of senior girls teared up as they prepared to walk off the home field for the last time, and were embraced by their teammates before leaving Memorial Field.

“It’s always an emotional moment, especially for the girls. They spent a lot of time on this field, and a lot of memories over the years,” Cantley said.

“It’s a little bittersweet for me as a coach. I’ve seen these girls and coached them since they were freshmen, so I’ve watched them develop over the years,” he said. “I know they’re going on to great things, but sad to see them go.”

The Rivals girls wrapped up
their regular season Monday, Oct. 25 with a 2-2 tie against Annie Wright in Tacoma.

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