Vikings return to conquest
by Jefferson Freeman
Orcas High School student
The end of summer means that Viking sports are back in action and this season expectations are high.
A defending state champions soccer squad that only lost three players and a still young volleyball team poised to make the leap into championship contention started their season this past weekend.
With excitement and expectations running high, I was able to sit down with both soccer coaches. Head coach Terry Turner and assistant coach Sid Hayworth are returning from last year’s title run, and while they both had a similar feeling about the team, their outlooks for the season varied.
Hayworth had some strong words for the team this season, saying that in his mind this is the strongest and deepest team Orcas Island High School has ever fielded. Both coaches understood that the only ceiling this team has is themselves and that if they are going to be successful it is up to nobody but them. Outside of the obvious goals of bringing home as many trophies as possible (and becoming the first Orcas side to complete a treble), both Turner and Hayworth mentioned goals of maintaining Vikings soccer in both play style and culture.
The biggest variable in answer was when asked if there was a target on their own backs. Turner believed that every team was just as focused as usual and that at the end of the day, three points is three points. Hayworth acknowledged the fact that this team had plenty of opponents looking to trip them up and steal a win and even the title away. While the Vikings only lost three seniors, they were important. William Ibarra, Cadence Krayveld, and Toby Smith were included in all league teams and left large holes to be filled. However, neither coach seemed to be too concerned with that, as both sang high praise for the freshman group that they believe will play a key role in this season. Hayworth said that there were a number of freshmen who would have been starters had it not been for the returning talent from previous seasons. Both coaches believe that this is the team, that they are highly capable, highly skilled and ready to go out there and take it.
Saturday, Sept. 10 was the return to play for the defending state soccer champions as they got to take on Sound Christian Academy on Orcas. Going into the matchup with 41 straight home wins the Vikings kept that momentum. It took only 6 minutes to knock the zero off the scoreboard as a lofted ball from Jefferson Freeman went off the back post and into the back of the net. Three minutes later Pedro Guerro lofted another ball over the keeper, this one was a successful cross, finding Remy Lago who would smash it home to give the Vikings a convincing lead. The rest of the game followed along those lines. Reigning Co-MVP Tommy Anderson-Cleveland added two, Anthony Conejo had a brace in his high school debut, Jaoquin Shanks-Morales got his first career goal in his first career game, Pedro Guerro added two goals to go with his assists, Kristian Freeman got career goal number 1, and the other co-MVP Diego Lago had two goals in his senior season opener. Anderson-Cleveland added three assists to an already outstanding day, Sam Sutton and Pedro Guerro both had a pair, while Nicholas Rivera and Diego Lago both got one a piece. The Vikings’ schedule dives in head first as they will play three games between Tuesday, Sept. 13 and Tuesday, Sept. 20. All La Conner and MVC way and rivals Friday Harbor at home. All three are against teams poised to contend for the league’s top spot meaning this will be one of the Vikings’ most important weeks.
Volleyball will be playing 18 regular season games plus a tournament. After narrowly missing out on a spot in the state playoffs last season, a team that only lost two seniors is back and ready to make themselves known. Head Coach Rachel Wilson had words of confidence for her team heading into the season, citing the team’s experience, ability, and a plethora of leadership. Wilson understands where this team is saying that they will be competing for every point and that they are in a position to do great things. The Vikings will get battle-tested this season as they play in a league with defending 2B state Champions La Conner. When asked about challenges, Wilson focused on her team and her team only, saying that volleyball is a game of mistakes and it really matters how you can bounce back. This is a team that is locked in and ready to take a step into contention. With the tools in their toolbox, all it takes is consistency for the Vikings to become a threat to the state title.
Volleyball got a challenging start matching up with 2A Bush and 2B state qualifiers Crosspoint in back-to-back days to start their season. Bush proved to be a challenge as the varsity team ended up falling after four tough sets. Turning right around the next day they got to get a taste of what playoff volleyball was like and they thrived. Winning the first two sets before dropping the third, Crosspoint attempted a little bit of a momentum swing, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough to take on a talented Viking group who would complete the win in the fourth set. They will be traveling to rival Friday Harbor for a huge game in terms of bragging rights and momentum for the season. After that, they head out to Yakima to compete in the sun dome tournament.
Co-ed varsity cross-country returns this year once again led by coach Mike Kulper. The team will be participating in six invitational meets, a league home meet, the League Championship meet and the Tri-District Championship meet. Runners who qualify at the District Championship meet will be invited to the State Championships meet at the start of November. The race distances are from two miles to 3.1 miles.
Mark your calendars for the Homecoming Bonfire at the Village Green scheduled for Friday, Oct. 7 immediately following the Homecoming Parade after school. Let us know if you want to help with this event.
For game schedules and updates, visit https://orcasvikings.com/.