She remembers the first one clearly.
Freshman year, against Olympic. A teammate playing defense lofted a ball deep into Trojan territory, over the heads of Olympic defenders, leaving Taryn Johnson and the Olympic goalkeeper alone.
Johnson flicked a shot toward the goal in, though the players collided in the process.
“We kind of took each other out,” Johnson remembered.
Forty-one goals later, she’s the Sequim High girls soccer record holder for career scores.
And she’s just a junior.
The most prolific scorer in Wolves history set the career mark in memorable and typical fashion last week. Needing three to tie and four to move past Brittany Gates’ 41 career goals entering a match-up against over-matched North Mason, Johnson tallied two scores in the first half and three more in the second — the scores coming in a variety of ways and facilitated by both individual acumen and deft assistance from teammates — in an 11-1 rout.
“We really worked as a team tonight,” Johnson said following the win.
Johnson broke in with the Wolves as a freshman in a COVID-shortened 2020-2021 season, earning that first score at Olympic on Feb. 24, 2021, as she and then teammate Hannah Wagner found the net in a 2-0 win.
She added another, again against Olympic, in that season’s finale on March 16, to close her first season with two goals.
“My freshman year, I was lacking confidence a little bit,” she said.
“I came into [my sophomore season] with more confidence.”
Barrage of goals
That spelled bad news for Sequim opponents. In her second season — and first full campaign — Johnson racked up six hat tricks (three-goal games) on her way to a team-high 24 goals and added eight assists.
Forming a potent duo with Wagner (19 goals, a team-high 12 assists) who now plays at Peninsula College, Johnson and the Wolves soared to an 11-6 mark and fell short of the 2A state tourney by just one game.
“It’s her speed and technical abilities [that make her a great player],” Sequim coach Ken Garling said of Johnson, prior to the start of the 2022 season.
“She’s solid on the ball and maybe even more so off the ball. She can create space for herself.”
This season, the junior started quickly, earning a hat trick in her first game as the Wolves routed North Mason in Belfair, 12-0, on Sept. 13.
A week later, Johnson erupted for a five-goal game against Olympic. She tallied the Wolves’ lone scores against Kingston on Oct. 4 before last week’s barrage against North Mason.
At the friendly confines of Stáʔčəŋ Stadium on Myron Teterud Field on Oct. 6, Johnson opened the scoring about seven minutes in, taking an errant goalkeeper goal kick and finding the net from 25 yards out. Twenty minutes later, teammate Ivy Barrett drove down the left side of the pitch and slipped a pass to Johnson for a 2-0 Sequim lead.
With Sequim holding a comfortable 5-1 lead midway through the second half, Johnson got the record-tying and record-breaking scores through deft footwork and tough individual play, and capped the night with a fifth score a few minutes later, a solo drive originating from a scramble down the right side that drew oohs and aahs from the appreciative Sequim crowd.
SHS coach Ken Garling and fellow coaches said that was enough for Johnson, giving her the rest of the night off.
The scores helped Johnson pass the record previously held by Gates, who amassed 16 goals as a freshman in 2004, six in 2005, eight in 2006 and 11 in her senior year.
Johnson credits playing club level games, and having to face defenders as fast or faster than she is, for her development as a player. She currently laces up her cleats with the ISC Gunners in Issaquah, competing in spring games.
“That helped me get to where I am now,” she said.
While she’s already looking at college programs she’d like to play for — a recent college trip with her sister has her considering the University of Kansas as a good fit — Johnson is quick to point out how well the Wolves play together as a team.
“Everybody is a team player,” she said. “We will cheer with each other, hype each other up.
“It’s one of the best teams I’ve played with [to have that atmosphere]. That’s not something you always see.”
Garling said having a solid core around the speedy scorer makes things real tough for Sequim opponents.
“Then its, pick your poison,” he said. “[Johnson] is a great teammate; just her presence makes everybody better.”