Olympic League standings
Team Lg. Over.
North Kitsap 5-0-0 7-0-1
Kingston 4-1-0 5-1-1
Port Angeles 4-1-0 5-2-0
Bremerton 2-3-0 3-4-0
Sequim 2-3-0 3-3-1
North Mason 1-4-0 1-5-0
Olympic 0-6-0 0-7-1
Facing a high-powered Sequim soccer team that had scored 28 goals in its first five games, the Port Angeles defense clamped down and managed to shut out the Wolves 3-0 for a crucial Olympic League 2A Division win on March 28.
The two evenly matched teams will meet again April 28.
The Riders got two goals from Ben Schneider, one on a penalty kick. Grayson Peet also scored a goal and drew the penalty that led to Schneider’s second goal.
The Wolves played much of the match without their leading scorer Liam Harris, who came into the tilt with 12 goals on the season. Harris hurt his leg on a collision with a Riders’ player. He tried to come back into the game a couple of times and wasn’t able to go, sitting out almost all of the second half of the match.
Port Angeles coach Chris Saari said overall his team played well and said the Riders caught a break when Harris went down.
Sequim coach Dave Brasher wasn’t making excuses about Harris’ injury.
“That happens in soccer all the time,” he said. “We had plenty of chances.”
Brasher said he was happy with how the Wolves played in the first half. He said he made some adjustments in the second half “but we didn’t want to show (Port Angeles) all of our tricks.”
The Wolves had plenty of opportunities early. Sequim dominated the first 20 minutes of the match, with the Riders defenders on their heels and the ball deep in the Riders’ end most of that time. The Wolves had a couple of near misses on shots by Harris and Addison Berg, but couldn’t break through for a score.
Then, Harris came tantalizingly close to a goal on a near-perfect free kick from beyond 30 yards. The ball bounced high off the hands of Riders keeper Lorenzo DeLaTorre and went off the crossbar. Sequim banged a loose ball into the net, but interference with the goalie was called on a collision in the penalty area.
After all that Wolves’ pressure early, the Riders countered to finally break up the 0-0 deadlock near the end of the first half on a great goal by Schneider. From a sharp angle on the left wing, a shot by Schneider got past the hands of diving Wolves goalkeeper Nick Janikic and slowly trickled into the side of the net.
As much as Sequim dominated the first half, Port Angeles controlled the second half. The Riders had two near goals from Jesse Salgado and Peet, then in the 66th minute, Peet drew a foul in the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick goal by Schneider.
Sequim had a golden opportunity to get back in it when a foul was called on the Riders just outside the penalty area, resulting in a point-blank free kick just outside the box. Michael McAleer’s free kick just went wide of the left post by inches and the Riders kept hold of their two-goal lead.
Peet picked up the third goal of the match in the 73rd minute with some nice passing in the Wolves’ end between himself and Salgado. Andrew St. George got the assist on a cross that went back to Peet for a goal.
Bucs beat Sequim at home
Playing without Harris, the Wolves gave second-place Kingston a hard time in the second half but weren’t able to break through for a goal in a 3-0 loss on March 31.
“I think we played one of our most solid games all year. It seemed closer than 3-0,” Brasher said.
“We played a better game overall (than against Port Angeles),” he said. “We just couldn’t finish.”
In addition to Harris, Sequim was missing defender Brandon Benson who was out sick and injured keeper Navy Thomas-Brenske, who splits time with Nick Janikic.
The Wolves were outshot 9-1 in the first half as Kingston controlled the action and took a 2-0 lead into the break.
Sequim responded in the second half, however, outshooting the Buccaneers 6-3 and getting a couple of good chances, one on a corner by Evan James. Kingston scored its third goal in the final minute of the game as the Wolves had everyone up in the offensive zone.
“We’re still trying to settle in,” Brasher said.
Brasher said that Chris Morgan had his best game of the year and that Janikic had six saves “and played pretty darn well.”
Sequim (3-3-1, 2-3) just has a friendly match this week, set for 5 p.m. Thursday, April 6, against Ketchikan, Alaska.