The superstar controlled play, the newcomers stepped up and Port Angeles showed its strength in a 4-1 pasting of rival Sequim on a soggy Civic Field on Sept. 12.
“What we always like to see is a team grow over the course of a game and by the end of the game we were flexing over them,” Roughriders head coach Scott Moseley said.
Moseley was speaking metaphorically of course, as Port Angeles showed off its potent offensive attack after first spotting Sequim (0-1-0 in league, 1-1-1 overall) and goal scorer Abby Schroeder a one-goal lead in the seventh minute.
The Roughriders were missing senior midfielder and captain Delaney Wenzl with an injury and were in a different formation than usual with personnel in unfamiliar areas.
“It took awhile to figure out what Sequim was doing,” Moseley said.
The Wolves took advantage and nearly added another score almost instantly, with a Hope Glasser drive just missing the right lower corner.
Jada Cargo’s goal off of an assist by Bella Money, tied the game at 1-1 in the 14th.
“Jada, she uses her body so well. She’s so fast and so strong,” Port Angeles’ Millie Long said.
Long, the reigning All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP, lifted her game at that point. She gave the Riders a 2-1 lead in the 33rd minute, dribbling from midfield through a pack of Wolves before unleashing a left-footed laser that found the upper left corner.
Sequim had a couple of chances to tie before halftime on some excellent crosses by Daisy Ryan, but couldn’t put ball on boot and find the net.
It was all Port Angeles after halftime as Long and the Riders took the game over. Long and varsity newcomer Hannah Reetz connected on a goal in the 56th minute just after having a goal taken off the board for an offside violation.
Long added the fourth goal when she gained possession of the ball and beat Hare on a low bouncing shot to the right.
Sequim was left to think about how to respond to the loss — with coach Derek Vander Velde requiring his team to ride the bus together back to Sequim.
“We had some moments,” Vander Velde said. “I think we kind of checked out a bit mentally after (our) goal. We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, that we kind of lost it and left it. And if we had played more of that style, if we had made more of those types of connections, we would have found the back of the net.
“It was tough to watch for sure. But we’ve been through this before, they are a resilient group and it’s up to them now to decide, ‘Hey what do we do with this? And this is a test, this is a moment, right? This is deciding, OK, I want the rest of this season to look like how we finished last season. So it becomes how do I pick myself up and go on?”
Wolves edge Eagles
Sequim started the week with a 2-1 home win over Klahowya, a 1A team that went 19-3 last fall.
After getting shut out in the first half, Schroeder tallied a pair of scores to pace the Sequim offense.
“I think the teamwork got us there,” Schroeder said. “My team really opened up the space for me.”
Olivia Hare, the Sequim keeper made a number of key stops in the first half to keep the Wolves close.
With some tactical changes at half, Sequim controlled the ball much more in the second frame and it paid off at the 48-minute mark when Schroeder found the ball in open space and beat the Eagle keeper.
About 14 minutes later, Glasser tracked down a ball on the end line and found Ryan, who teed up a trailing Schroeder for a second score.
“That’s something we’ve been working on, and I was in the right place at the right time,” Schroeder said.
Klahowya halved the lead soon after. Despite a late surge — one that saw Hare make two key stops — the Eagles couldn’t get the equalizer.
“We were playing a little too direct and weren’t communicating well enough in the first half, but that’ll get better as we get through the season,” Vander Velde said.
“We shifted our shape up a bit and cleaned up a few things from the first half. You can’t take many teams and just move into a new formation, that’s hard, but they’re flexible and worked hard.
(I’m) really impressed with how the team stepped up and responded.”
Sequim was scheduled to host Bremerton on Sept. 17 — results were not available at press time.
The Wolves are at Olympic on Sept. 19 and host North Kitsap’s Vikings on Sept. 24.