Girls soccer: Rivalry produces another classic

Anna Petty’s late-first-half goal into an open net stood up despite the valiant efforts from two Sequim goalkeepers as the Roughriders closed out the Wolves 1-0 on Sept. 15, the first Rainshadow Rumble Rivalry game of the season.

Petty’s goal came at around the 35th minute mark of a tight, physical contest between the two rivals at Peninsula College’s Wally Sigmar Field.

“There was a scramble at half, a 1-on-1 vs. the keeper and a poor clearance by the outside defender,” Petty said describing how the ball came to rest at her feet, about 20 yards from goal.

“All I had to do was put it forward, nothing too powerful, keep it low to the ground. [And I’m thinking] ‘don’t kick it wide, don’t kick it wide and don’t kick it over. Concentrate on a nice, lovely ball.”

Sequim sophomore goalkeeper Kalli Grove was caught away from net on the play, trying to scoop up the initial Port Angeles shot. Grove was in place for a number of Port Angeles free kicks and corners up to that point, including a tough save up close in the 16th minute.

Grove suffered a knock on that play, but stayed in goal through the half.

“Amazing, absolutely amazing,” Sequim coach Ken Garling said. “Kalli was standing on her head in the first half. She got nicked up in that one scramble, got a hit to the head and we were concerned about it and didn’t want to put her in for the second half.”

With the Wolves chasing the score in the second half, junior defender Kaia Lestage moved to goalkeeper and proceeded to look like an All-Olympic League candidate in net.

“How about Kaia Lestage stepping in?” Garling said. “I said to her at halftime, ‘Hey, there’s a chance’ and with no hesitation she goes, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ She was awesome, she was stellar in the second half.”

Riders head coach Daniel Horton noticed the switch and let his team know to begin the second half.

“I told them she’s not their keeper, let’s test her,” Horton said. “And in [the postgame handshake] line I told her ‘You might be the new goalie.’”

Lestage tapped away free kicks and corners and made a heroic save to keep out a sure goal on a well-struck Petty shot to the upper left.

Port Angeles’ defense wasn’t perfect, but it held up the clean sheet for goalkeeper Saylah Commerton. Commerton’s best save came early, stopping Sequim’s speedy striker Taryn Johnson on a breakaway in the third minute.

The Riders were able to constrict the Wolves offensive attack and funnel Sequim into using less of the field, particularly after halftime.

“We were solid in trying to build up our attack,” Petty said. “There was a lot of play along the back line, sometimes we panicked, but I felt, coach told us we had to play to our feet and in the second half we were able to do that and maintain a lot of possession.”

Horton said his team adjusted well defensively.

“I thought in the second half we did better because we won more balls in the air, we were getting more body-to-body defending and closing that space, where in the first half we were giving a cushion and letting balls bounce and letting girls turn. So that was a focus, don’t let them turn and get the ball out of the air and on the turf.”

He praised senior Lilly Sanders for her work on the back line.

“Lilly our senior center back is new to that position, but she’s smart and played really well, we lean on her a lot and she bailed us out several times.”

Garling said he was impressed with how his team performed.

“When we connected our passes and kept our spacing, that was when we were solid, that’s when we could get forward and create chances,” Garling said.

“When we went wrong we would get too narrow, we weren’t working the width and we would turn the ball over in transition and we wouldn’t quite adjust quick enough some times.

“They did well, they had to adjust a little bit, but we were getting right in there with them. PA has a tough team, a tough squad and it’s always a great matchup.”

Wolves open with big win

Johnson and fellow junior Jenny Gomez led the way with hat tricks as the Sequim girls soccer team opened the season in fine form with a 12-0 win over North Mason on Sept. 13.

“Our girls played strong and got stronger in the second half,” Garling said. “I was proud of how we maintained possession in North Mason’s half of the field. We were getting second and third shot opportunities on a pretty regular basis.”

Gomez opened the scoring with a left-footed strike in the fourth minute and also added goals in the 43rd and 79th minutes.

Johnson went on a scoring spree after halftime, scoring three goals in less than 10 minutes (47th, 52nd and 56th).

She also assisted on two goals, Eve Breithaupt’s one-timer from long distance in the 63rd and Teagen Moore’s goal in the 70th minute.

“Eve’s goal was just a beautiful strike from about 30 yards out,” Garling said. “Taryn let it off to her and she one-timed struck it perfectly.”

Sophomore Libby Turella came up from her defender position to score twice in the 24th and 54th minutes and add an assist.

Freshman Raimey Brewer added two goals and an assist.

Grove earned the shutout for the Wolves.

“Once we adjusted to their tactic of sending the long ball to their striker, [defenders Lestage] and Ivy Barrett just shut them down,” Garling said.

Coming up

Sequim was scheduled to open their 2022 home schedule against Olympic on Sept. 20 — results were not available at press time.

The Wolves are at North Kitsap on Sept. 22 and at Bainbridge on Sept. 27 before hosting Bremerton on Sept. 29.