New Sequim coach Molly McAleer isn’t interested in politeness on the field.
That’s why she was happy to see her Wolves learn by example at a recent Peninsula College scrimmage, where the Pirates elbowed, jostled and pushed their way to a win.
“I was happy with that,” McAleer says. “I don’t want sorrys on the field.”
Early on in preseason practices, the former Kennedy High assistant had to keep her young Sequim varsity squad from stopping play to help up fallen teammates.
Helping the hurt players is her job, she explains, while playing hard is theirs.
Last season’s squad struggled to a 1-13-1 finish. And while McAleer was coaching Sequim’s junior varsity squad in 2009, she expects significant changes for these Wolves.
“My first goal when I was hired was for them to play year-round, indoor and outdoor,” she says.
And so many of them did, taking advantage of different leagues and getting coaching from assistant Beth Barrett.
“The transition’s been beautiful,” McAleer says. “This is the easiest group I’ve ever had to work with.”
The team sees nine returnees from last year’s team — five juniors that McAleer says show strong leadership and four sophomores. The varsity lineup features just two seniors.
Among the returnees are sophs Hillary Smith and Kayla Hagberg, who had two scores each for last year’s squad.
McAleer says she hasn’t settled on a firm lineup as of a week before the season opener, noting, “I have no allegiance to what they’ve played in the past.”
McAleer says her plan is to keep play simple, going with a 4-4-2 formation and to make possession a priority.
And she has a mantra for her young Wolves to carry with them on the field: Do your personal best.
Whether that translates into wins on the field is to be seen, but Sequim players and fans will find out soon enough.
Sequim was slated to play at Chimacum on Sept. 7 — results were unavailable at press time. The Wolves host Forks at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, before opening Olympic League play Sept. 14 at Port Townsend.
Ocosta edges Sequim in opener
The Wolves were all wet on Labor Day — literally and figuratively — after losing a nail-biter in the season-opener to 1A Ocosta Monday afternoon in Sequim.
Makayla Bentz and Quinn O’Neil each had scores while Paige Johnson and Kristen Phifer earned assists in the loss.
Sequim was without Kayla Hagberg, Lauren Bell and Justine Rhodes for much or all of them game thanks to illness and injury.
“We had some jitters at the beginning,” McAleer said.
“(But) it was a different game in the second half.”
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.