Boys soccer: Wolves earn wins for sick teammate

With undershirts featuring messages of support and gear sporting the jersey number (14) of teammate Adrian Mendez, Sequim’s boys soccer squad snapped a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 shutout of Kingston on April 9.

Mekhi Ashby scored in the second half for the game’s lone score. Nolan Valenzuela earned the shutout in goal.

Mendez has been at Seattle Children’s Hospital since March 20 with a rare autoimmune illness, according to a GoFundMe developed to support the family.

“The rest of the season is dedicated to him,” SHS coach Dave Breckenridge said.

“It puts a little damper … but it pushes them. They care about their friend.”

Three days later on the road, Sequim (3-4 in Olympic League and overall) came outs firing on all cylinders and routed the host North Mason Bulldogs, winning a 3-0 contest that Breckenridge said could have been an even bigger victory.

Sequim’s Ashby, Preston Kurtze and Solas McGruther each had shots on goal in the first four minutes to set the tone, and at the about the 10-minute mark, Ashby converted a penalty kick after Kurtze was taken down in the penalty box.

“We were pushing hard,” Breckenridge said.

Sequim’s Guillermo Salgado looks for a teammate in the first half of the Wolves’ April 9 home game against Kingston.

Sequim’s Guillermo Salgado looks for a teammate in the first half of the Wolves’ April 9 home game against Kingston.

The Wolves got their second goal on a breakaway by Josh Alcaraz and finished scoring after a series of excellent passes led to a goal from Finn Braaten. Ashby had the final pass of that sequence for an assist.

Braaten capped the scoring for the 3-0 while Valenzuela earned a relatively easy shutout, with Sequim keeping possession for much of the contest.

“It’s the best we’ve played all season,” Breckenridge said.

The Bulldogs earned a red card in the game’s final minutes in a physical game that saw three Sequim players go down, including one with a concussion.

“We as coaches told [the players] ‘We’re not concerned about winning, we’re concerned about development. This is not a must-win for us.’ And they responded,” Breckenridge said.

“The overall momentum and commitment level was super positive.”

Looking ahead

The Wolves were scheduled to play at Port Angeles on April 16 — results were not available at press time.

Sequim is at North Kitsap on April 23 and Bainbridge on April 25. The Wolves host Senior Night on April 30 in a league match against Bremerton, and cap the regular season on the road on May 2 at Kingston.