A rivalry game that good deserved a winning goal that great.
Sierra Robinson’s game-winning strike just beat the outstretched hands of Sequim goalkeeper Claire Henninger, softly hitting the bottom of the crossbar and bouncing down and in, to cap Port Angeles’ three-goal second half rally and boost the Roughriders to a 3-2 triumph over the Wolves on Oct. 19.
The loss, along with a defeat at the hand of North Kitsap earlier in the week and North Mason’s win over NK on Oct. 19, has the Wolves on the verge of missing the West Central District playoffs with two games remaining.
Against Port Angeles, the Roughriders appeared to have scored twice in the first half but both goals were disallowed due to offsides calls — each instance drawing disbelief from Riders coach Scott Moseley.
Sequim took advantage soon after the first offsides call when sophomore Jessica Dietzman deftly split the Riders’ defense up the middle and dribbled through for a solidly struck shot that beat Port Angeles goalkeeper Bonnie Sires in the 29th minute.
Sequim’s second goal came on a penalty kick taken by Henninger in the 35th minute.
Henninger was the primary difference in the first half, stymieing multiple Rider shots on goal, many from point-blank range.
“She’s outstanding,” Wolves coach Derek Vander Velde said of the reigning All-Peninsula girls soccer MVP.
“She shows up every game and is always on fire. She’s phenomenal. I can’t be more happy with her as a goalkeeper or as a leader.”
Port Angeles’ comeback was underway three minutes into the second half when the Riders drew a penalty kick and senior Shanzi Cosgrove stepped up and sent a shot past Henninger — after a friendly bit of chatter between the club soccer teammates.
“Part of that is they are very good friends, so they were both in each other’s heads about which way she was going to go (with the shot),” Moseley said. “And so she calmly finished it.”
Six minutes later Port Angeles senior Emily Boyd tied the game when she pounced on a ball that Robinson sent her way after a scramble in the box.
“We had a couple of those and she was finally able to get one in front and finish from very close range,” Moseley said.
And six minutes after Boyd’s equalizer, Robinson added the final strike with a finesse finish.
“And Cee-Cee (Robinson) just had an amazing shot at the end,” Moseley said.
Against North Kitsap on Oct. 17, Sequim got another great performance from Henninger, who had nine saves, but weren’t able to muster a goal in a 1-0 loss to the Vikings.
“(We) fought hard all 80 minutes in one of the best games (we) have played during the season,” Vander Velde said.
“(We) have struggled a bit in the latter half of the season, but really turned things around last night. It was great to see them find their rhythm again.”
Sequim finished the game with five shots on offense.
Vandervelde said players who stood out were Henninger, Daisy Ryan, Adare McMinn, Natalie Torres, Yana Hoesel and Natayla James.
Sequim was scheduled to host Bremerton on Oct. 23, their final home game of the season. Sequim finishes the regular season Oct. 25 at Kingston.
Only the top four Olympic League teams advance to the West Central District tournament, set for Oct. 28-Nov. 4.
The No. 4 seed from the Olympic League travels on Oct. 28 to play at the South Puget Sound League’s No. 6-seeded team in a loser-out game. The winner of that game takes on the SPSL’s No. 1 team on Oct. 31.
Five of the 12 teams at districts advance to the state 2A tournament.
The Wolves went 1-2 at districts last season, getting knocked out by rival Port Angeles in a shootout to fall one win short of a state tournament berth.