Following a banner year, the Wolves’ girls soccer team just missed out on a return trip to districts.
Sequim finished its regular season on Oct. 25 in Kingston with a 1-0 win as Sequim’s Jessica Dietzman scored on an assist by Mikayla Geniesse.
Sequim coach Derek Vander Velde said the Buccaneers pressed hard in the last 5 minutes and a foul gave them a penalty box kick to tie the game. However, all-league goalkeeper Claire Henninger blocked the shot.
“Not making districts was tough for everybody and for her it was hard,” he said. “It is her senior year and the season before had been such a wild ride for the school but for her to block that shot really kind of capped her high school career.”
For the game, the Wolves had eight shots and Henninger had 11 saves, On the season Sequim finished fifth in the Olympic League at 6-6 in the Olympic League and 9-7 overall. Their record put them one game and a spot for districts behind Port Angeles and North Mason who finished 7-5 in league.
As of Oct. 30, three of four teams ahead of the Wolves — North Kitsap, North Mason, and Port Angeles — all won their first games at districts while all four played on Halloween.
Last year, Sequim won a team-high 11 games including the program’s first postseason game before coming up just short to earn the school’s first state berth in the program too.
Early on, Vander Velde felt a .500 finish was realistic this year because of players graduating and a number of newcomers coming in.
“Finishing 6-6 is not an easy feat in this league,” he said.
“I’m really happy with that. Overall, our record was 9-7, and for Sequim that’s a good record. I’m a little disappointed we didn’t make districts but we’re a young squad. They did everything I had asked them to do.”
Despite losing three seniors — Henninger, Adare McMinn and Jillian Hutchison — Vander Velde said he’s excited for the seasons to come.
“By not making districts, hopefully this puts some fire under them for next year and the offseason,” he said.
Next year, Vander Velde said he plans to lean on Nathalie Torres who is “dynamite in the middle,” Gabby Happe, Abby Schroeder, Mary McAleer, and Natayla James who “all stepped right into their roles on the team.”
“I’m really impressed by all the girls on the team,” he said. “They come out to practice everyday and want to learn their game. It’s been a pleasure to teach and coach them.”
Vander Velde anticipates the team will continue to gel and focus more on finishing games strong.