The eyes had it. Sequim goalkeeper Kalli Grove followed the gaze of Port Angeles’ Paige Mason to the right post, diving correctly to that side for a tip save on Mason’s late penalty kick and covering up the resulting rebound to preserve the Wolves’ 2-1 win over the Roughriders on Sept. 14.
Mason stepped up to take the kick following a handball call on Sequim in the goal box in the 70th minute, 10 minutes from the end of the contest.
“I watch the girl who is taking the PK,” Grove said. “Her eyes especially, she was looking at that corner and I made the decision to go there. And after I went straight to the ball because I didn’t want them to have another chance.”
The Wolves were able to see out the final moments of an evenly played Rainshadow Rumble rivalry contest.
“I was so excited for her,” Wolves’ coach Ken Garling said of Grove. “She’s been working so hard on those. Goalkeepers, your team is going to ask you to make one or two big saves in a game and stopping a PK is one of those big saves, so for her to step up, read it and save it was fantastic.
“But I’m happy for all of our players, they all played great.”
The Riders limited Sequim star Taryn Johnson to one outstanding run toward goal in the first half that ended with a shot wide of the mark. Port Angeles’ Maeve Croteau sent a free kick from right-to-left toward goal, but the ball bounced off the bar.
“Port Angeles was doing such a great job physically, beating us to the ball, knocking us off our marks,” Garling said of the first half.
Mistake leads to goal
Sequim took a 1-0 lead when sophomore defender Kiley Winter poked home a loose ball which had bounced around the goal box just a minute before halftime.
Wolves’ midfielder Jenny Gomez came on strong in the second half, sending a number of through balls up the field and between the Riders’ defense.
“She understands the game so well, she has great vision,” Garling said of Gomez.
During one such play, Sequim freshman forward Sasha Yada ran on to Gomez’ long ball and dribbled into the box, finding on-coming Port Angeles goalkeeper Kennedy Rognlien in her path. Rognlien was called for a penalty kick for bumping Yada while attempting to cover up the ball.
Yada was one of a number of freshmen who stood out for Sequim.
“As a freshman she’s really good and very confident, too,” Grove said.
Johnson stuck the ensuing penalty kick to the right side to put Sequim up 2-0 in the 48th minute.
Port Angeles then bore down, picking up its intensity offensively and getting a bit of luck in the 53rd minute when Mason’s high arching shot from about 25 yards away landed high up in the back of the net, high enough that Grove had no chance to make the save.
SHS tops Bulldogs in opener
Johnson, the Wolves all-time leading goal-scorer, added another five scores to her tally along with an assist as Sequim opened its season in fine form with a 9-1 win at North Mason on Sept. 12.
Senior classmate Gomez added two goals.
“We wanted to have a fast start, press out of the gate and control the pace of game,” Garling said. “The girls came out from the first whistle and did exactly that. They controlled possession, played the ball around and broke down their defense.”
The Wolves were able to find space in the center of the field between North Mason’s center backs all game long.
Gomez opened the scoring, splitting two defenders and running on to Johnson’s through ball in the fourth minute.
Johnson scored off a Bridge assist in the eighth minute and headed in another goal in the 11th minute, scoring off of Amara Gonzalez’s corner kick.
Nikoline Updike assisted on another Johnson goal in the 16th.
“[We were] really taking what they were giving us because they were not making adjustments and they couldn’t keep up with us,” Garling said.
Johnson reached four goals in the 22nd minute, poking in a rebound after a scramble in the goal box.
Updike scored her first goal on a direct free kick in the 28th.
“It was a phenomenal direct free kick right over the goalkeeper’s head,” Garling said. “A really pretty goal.”
Yada notched her first varsity goal, scoring off a Kiley Winter assist in the 38th minute.
Gomez added her second goal in the second half assisted by Ivy Barrett, and Johnson finished out the scoring, linking up with Kaia Lestage.
“We almost had a clean sheet, our first half was outstanding, everyone contributed and we were excited about the outcome,” Garling said.
Sequim was scheduled to play at Olympic on Sept. 19; results were not available at press time.