By the end, Sequim’s varsity starters were putting their energy toward rooting on their younger JV counterparts.
Sequim’s boys soccer squad capped an unbeaten home campaign for their shortened 2021 season with a 6-1 rout of Olympic on April 19, highlighted by a hat trick from senior Eli Gish.
“Our focus this season was ‘score early, score often and continue the pressure,’” Sequim coach Ken Garling said, soon after his Wolves improved to 9-0 and running Sequim’s Olympic League win streak to 25 games, dating back to April 2018.
“What’s cool to see is the leadership step up,” Garling said. “We still take them one game at a time.”
Sequim scored a trio of first half goals, with Kristian Mingoy opening the scoring off a Brandon Charters assist in the 23rd minute.
Charters made it 2-0 two minutes later, ripping a left-footed shot into the corner. Gish added his first goal at 33 minutes.
Gish added scores at 42 and 60minutes for the hat trick.
Junior varsity players got plenty of field time in the latter part of the second half, and freshman Sola McGruther capitalized on the opportunity with a leaping unassisted score in the 75th minute to to cap the scoring.
Trenton Rocha picked up the win in goal for Sequim, giving up just the one score.
Sequim looks to cap an unbeaten season with a pair of away games this week. The Wolves take on Kingston (6-3) on April 21 before battling North Kitsap’s Vikings (4-3) on April 21.
Graling said the league is looking at a league crossover game to serve as a postseason.
“It’s an interesting season,” Garling said. “(But) these kids make it easy to coach. They’re making great memories.”
Wolves power past PA
Port Angeles showed marked improvement from an early-season loss to Sequim, but the Wolves made it clear who rules the Rainshadow Rivalry with a 4-1 win over the Roughriders on April 17 at Wally Sigmar Field.
“PA was for sure (improved),” Garling said. “I told our boys that PA would come out inspired and wanting to play hard to protect their home field and we knew we were in a for a tough one. That first 15-20 minutes, they kinda had the run of play and dictated some things.”
Sequim broke through for a goal in the ninth minute, when Gish booted a strike from just outside the 18-yard box that was assisted by Mingoy.
“Their first goal was against the run of play,” Port Angeles coach Chris Saari said. “We cleared it to the middle and we made a couple of mistakes defensively. We were in the game, we passed the ball better and we looked like a real soccer team.”
Sequim took control with a 26th minute score when Ethan Anderson found Ethan Knight who sent the ball through Riders’ goalkeeper Logan Desser’s legs to the far post.
Up 2-0 at halftime, Sequim added a third score when Port Angeles couldn’t clear a corner kick and the ball rattled around to Rafael Flores in the 54th minute.
The Riders (3-5) struggled to string passes together and keep possession the first time around against Sequim, but were much more competitive this time around.
Josiah Long scored on a centered ball from the right side from Zak Alton just past the 60-minute mark to put Port Angeles within striking distance.
The only complaint about Sequim’s play in the first game with the Riders was a lack of scoring in the second half.
“We didn’t have the finishing edge we needed,” Gish said of the first game. “We’ve been working on conditioning and finishing in the final third and we have started to get more goals that way.
“Our pressure really helped in the second half to get goals and put it to bed.”
Sequim didn’t allow Port Angeles any good looks on goal in the final third of the game and Flores added an insurance goal with a header off a corner kick in stoppage time.
“Second half, Rafael Flores took over and had both the goals,” Garling said. “He got a head on (the second goal). I think it was his man bun that touched it.”