Despite a strong second half performance from the Sequim Wolves girls soccer team, they ultimately fell to the North Kitsap Vikings 4-2 in a penalty shootout after regulation ended at a 1-1 draw.
Despite the setback, however, Wolves head coach Derek Vander Velde was positive after the match.
“They came together … as a team,” he said. “It was good to see them come out and fight this hard.”
Vander Velde enjoyed seeing his team play as a cohesive unit, especially against a North Kitsap team that he described as “very good and fast.”
North Kitsap used that speed to great effect in the 15th minute, with a long ball over the top catching the Wolves’ backline off guard. The Vikings pounced on the ball quickly, with Sarah Hamilton knocking it past Wolves goalkeeper Olivia Hare to put her team up 1-0.
The Vikings would have the better of the scoring opportunities through the rest of the first half, particularly from speedy sophomore forward Kamora McMillian.
The second half saw the Wolves make some adjustments and play strong soccer, getting wider in their buildup of play to take advantage of the Vikings’ very narrow formation that had stifled Sequim’s more central play in the first half.
Sequim made several consecutive forays into the Viking’s third of the field to create attacking chances, one of which ended with sophomore forward Hannah Wagner, who was filling in for an ill Daisy Ryan, getting fouled at the edge of the box by Vikings defender Ashley Castro.
The Wolves scored on the ensuing free kick. Vikings goalkeeper Sophia Pixton failed to secure junior midfielder Abby Schroeder’s shot and the ball spilled directly into the path of senior Jessica Dietzman, who put the ball into the back of the net from point-blank range.
The match went back and forth after that, with each team coming up just short on several scoring chances. Hare came up big on consecutive Vikings attacks in the last 10 minutes of regulation, and both keepers had to make several saves in extra time in order to keep their teams in the match heading into penalties with a 1-1 score intact.
Unfortunately for the Wolves, Pixton was able to make two huge saves in the penalty shootout, while Hare was only able to get her fingertips on two of the Vikings’ shotst.
Despite the match’s outcome, Sequim’s Vander Velde said he was happy with what he saw.
“This team is just going to get better and better,” the Wolves’ head coach said. “Teams are going to have a hard time keeping up (with us) by the end of the season.”
The Wolves were set to play away at North Mason on Oct. 1. Results were not available at press time.
Sequim then starts a two-game home stand, hosting the Kingston Buccaneers on Oct. 3 before facing Port Angeles for the second time this season on Oct. 8.
The Roughriders beat the Wolves 4-1 in September.
The Wolves then play two straight matches on the road, at Bremerton on Oct. 10, then a non-league game at Vashon Island on Oct. 12 before returning home to host the Olympic Trojans on Oct. 15.