The Sequim Wolves girls soccer team got a big win on Oct. 8 when they upset Port Angeles 2-1 after a tie-breaking shootout, handing the Roughriders their first loss of the season.
“It really was (an impressive performance), especially how they responded to the challenge and shook off an own goal,” Sequim coach Derek Vander Velde said.
“I’m so impressed with all (my players). They all played a great game.”
The match was played on a wet field on a cold and breezy night, with drizzling rain coming off and on during the second half and extra time. The Wolves used that to their advantage, taking a more defensive shape than they’ve typically shown this season to try and force PA to play a little slower than they prefer, then on top of it gambling on a very important tactical decision that paid off.
Port Angeles junior forward Millie Long, a scoring star in the Olympic League this season with more goals than several league teams, has created matchup woes for foes with her elite speed and athleticism. This time around, Vander Velde had a solution: Hope Glasser.
Normally one of Sequim’s most impactful attackers, Vander Velde asked the junior to mark Long and try and take her out of the match. It worked, with Long quiet for long stretches of the match thanks to Glasser’s tireless running and defensive work.
“It was an interesting challenge,” Glasser said. “I haven’t man-marked anyone like that outside of basketball before. I spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos on how to man-mark in soccer, and I figured out that a lot of it was just staying between them and the ball, so that’s what I did.”
Glasser added that there were times she had to call on senior fullback Kristina Mingoy to help at times when the Roughriders were trying to split up the defense a little more, using Mingoy’s speed to help keep Long contained.
“We knew that we would have to approach this game differently because of (Long) and Port Angeles’ attacking success,” Vander Velde said. “The girls really did a good job of accepting that and getting into what they needed to do to make it work tonight.”
It was telling to see Long’s only good scoring chance from the run of play come when Glasser was off the pitch. Glasser checked out after being involved in a head-to-head hit with Roughriders midfielder Mia Gagnon in the second half, a collision that nearly cost Glasser a tooth and left a large cut on Gagnon’s head, and put Gagnon out of the game for the remainder.
That one chance was saved well by Wolves goalkeeper Olivia Hare, one of several good saves the junior netminder made on the night.
At 25 minutes, a Sequim deflected around the box some, but Port Angeles failed to clear it before standout sophomore forward Hannah Wagner popped up in the box to slip the ball into a few feet of space before firing it home past Roughriders keeper Madi Roening.
That goal swung the momentum firmly in the Wolves’ favor, coming up with several big scoring chances before halftime, though none wound up on the scoreboard.
Port Angeles leveled the score in the 48th minute off an own goal, when a cross from the visitors was misheaded by Wolves’ central defender Amara Sayer, looping back into her own net.
After a fairly back-and-forth regulation, Hare — Sequim’s veteran keeper — saved all three shots she faced, from Lucah Folden, Bailee Larson and Dalney Wenzi.
The Wolves were more clinical in their attempts, with Alexis Smith and Daisy Ryan scoring easily with low shots. After a Roening save on attempt No. 3, Sequim defender Gabby Happe scored the clincher.
Sequim lost their only other penalty shootout earlier this year, 4-2 to North Kitsap.
The Wolves didn’t let their attention slip following the PA win, earning a 1-0 win on the road against Bremerton on Oct. 10 on the strength of Schroeder’s seventh goal of the season.
“That was a tough, tough game,” Vander Velde said. “Bremerton possessed the ball really well and made it hard for us. It was so back and forth.”
Despite not being on the ball as much as they’re used to the Wolves still had plenty of shots on target, but a strong showing from Knights goalkeeper Akilah Austin kept Sequim from scoring until Schroeder — who was playing a rare role for her at striker — was able to run through the Bremerton defense to put a low shot past the junior keeper.
Vander Velde credited his team’s increased confidence after beating PA as a factor in winning the match. He also praised his players for not losing focus, despite playing a team they beat 4-1 earlier in the season.
“We had to grind that out, but they never lost sight on what they had to do,” he said.
A non-league match against Vashon Island set for Oct. 12, already rescheduled once so that the team wouldn’t miss SATs or homecoming, has been postponed again.
“We’re both trying to get to districts,” Vander Velde said, “and this would be a third game in a week for both of us. We both want our teams to stay healthy and get rest, so we agreed not to play this weekend.”
Vander Velde said that he doubted the match would get rescheduled this season, but that he expects the schools will work something out for their preseason schedule next year.
Sequim heads to Poulsbo to face North Kitsap on Oct. 17, then visits Port Townsend in a non-league match on Oct. 22.
On Oct. 24, the Wolves host the North Mason Bulldogs in a match that could have major implications in the end-of-season standings in the Olympic League.
After that, the Wolves finish up their regular season with a visit to Kingston on Oct. 29.
If the Wolves’ record in the Olympic League has them in the top three teams after the Kingston match, they would qualify for the district tournament at Franklin Pierce High School in Parkland between Nov. 2-9.