Sequim’s girls soccer team qualified for the 2A state playoffs for the second year in a row, thanks to a 2-1 shootout win over the Orting Cardinals on Nov. 5 in Lakewood.
The Wolves then received the No. 4 seed from the West Central District after losing a 1-0 match to Port Angeles at Peninsula College on Nov. 9.
The Wolves were set to face Ridgefield (8-4 league, 15-4 overall) in the first round of the 2A state playoffs at 6 p.m. on Nov. 12; results were not available at press time.
Against Orting, the Wolves got an early goal from Hope Glasser, one that Sequim coach Derek Vander Velde said he was “not sure” how she was able to score.
“It was right along the baseline,” he said. “The keeper was (right by) the post, and it just went across her and in.”
In the second half, Orting scored off what Vander Velde called “frantic chaos” after a corner kick, and the Wolves couldn’t find a winner despite what the coach called “tons and tons of chances,” including three shots off the crossbar.
The Wolves continued their sterling performance in penalty shootouts, however, scoring all five of their kicks and with star goalkeeper Olivia Hare keeping the Cardinals to three.
That win guaranteed Sequim a berth in the state playoffs, with Saturday’s game against Port Angeles to decide the district’s third and fourth seeds.
The Wolves were less fortunate against the Port Angeles Roughriders on a foggy, cold evening, losing 1-0 on the strength of a 16th minute goal from Millie Long that Hare got her hands onto but had so much spin on it that it kicked off her hands and spun into the back of the net.
“That was unfortunate, but it happens,” Vander Velde said.
“But I’m not taking anything away from how our girls played tonight. They were fantastic and should be proud of how they played.”
Glasser and Hannah Wagner both had spells marking Long, Port Angeles’ star player who has scored more goals this season than most entire teams in the Olympic League. She was kept fairly quiet for much of the match, but did pop up to create danger at times, sometimes just with her presence and high-paced runs pulling defenders away to give space to other Roughriders attackers.
The Wolves didn’t back down from their opponents, though. They were the first team to beat Port Angeles this season, and they played hard for the whole 80 minutes of the match to try and beat them again.
In the end they fell just short, unable to find the back of the net despite hitting the crossbar once and seeing several shots go just inches wide.
Sequim also had a penalty shout in the second half go unanswered by the referee when Abby Schroeder was pushed over in the box by a Port Angeles defender.
After the match, Vander Velde was enthusiastic about his team’s chances in the state tournament, and just as enthusiastic about the state of women’s soccer on the upper Olympic Peninsula.
“Us being good and (Port Angeles) being good, it’s really done a lot for the game out here,” he said. “(Port Angeles head coach) Scott (Moseley) has done a great job building up that program. The game is only going to get better in this area.”
Going to state
With their second state berth in program history, the Wolves were seeking their first state tourney win Tuesday against the Ridgefield Spudders on Nov. 12, who earned an 8-4 record in the Greater St. Helens League this season.
Sequim players have seen Ridgefield relatively recently, Vander Velde noted: the teams have faced off in summer training camps each of the last two years.
“I’m sure they’ve grown by leaps and bounds, just like we’ve grown by leaps and bounds,” Vander Velde said. “But I think we match up well. I’m looking forward to this game.”
With a win against the Spudders and a Port Angeles victory against Sehome in the Roughriders’ first-ever home playoff match on Nov. 12, Sequim and Port Angeles would face each other for the fourth time this season — at some point between Nov. 14-16 — in the state 2A tourney quarterfinals.