Sequim’s Johnson repeats as All-Peninsula MVP

Fanfare didn’t follow when Sequim’s Taryn Johnson made the Sequim girls soccer team as a freshman.

There wasn’t any concept of what was coming over the next few seasons as Johnson stalked the school’s career goal-scoring record, shattering the prior mark (41) as a junior and bumping up her tally with the best statistical season in school history this fall as a senior to 79 career scores.

“I had no idea what I was capable of as a freshman,” Johnson said. “I was timid, nervous and I wanted to fit in with the older players.

“Sophomore year, it just kind of all happened, I gained confidence and found my game.”

Johnson, the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP in 2022, turned in an even better script in 2023, improving her goal-scoring by one to 27 goals and dishing out 11 assists, five more than the previous fall.

She was voted first-team All-Olympic League for the third straight season and finished a controversial second in the overall Olympic League MVP balloting while leading Sequim to a 13-5 overall mark, a third-place district tournament finish and a state tournament appearance.

For all of these accolades and more, Johnson is once again the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP as selected by newspaper staff.

Johnson’s mere presence on the pitch drew the opponents’ attention away from her teammates in previous seasons, but for Sequim to reach the team-wide goal of a Class 2A state tournament appearance, Johnson and coach Ken Garling knew she had to keep growing her play-making abilities.

“Shifted her focus a little bit,” Garling said. “Obviously Taryn can score goals, but what we were looking for from her was to play more of a facilitator role and offer opportunities for others on the team and look for others on the team when the chance arises.

“And seeing her assists mark rise and see what she was willing to do to help teammates like Jenny Gomez, Kaia Lestage, Olive Bridge, the list goes on, all because Taryn was willing to take on a different role.”

Johnson said she didn’t change her mentality on the field, but added to it.

“My mentality is always going to be scoring goals, but assists mean so much. We had to have the other girls involved in goal scoring if we wanted to make it to state. So I was always making runs down the [side]lines to see if I could get a cross into the box or to get a give-and-go situation set up.”

Her individual goals were met during the season as well.

“My main individual goal was beating the goal-scoring record I set in 2022,” Johnson said. “And adding on to my assist total also was a really big goal.”

It all came together when the Wolves sealed their state tournament trip in a wild penalty kick shootout with Enumclaw in the district tournament that saw all Sequim players connect on their penalty kicks and goalkeeper Kalli Grove make two PK saves.

“I would say the state qualifying game,” Johnson said. “I was so proud of Kalli in that moment, the rush, that adrenaline, the fact that we all made our PKs and we had been playing our best soccer in that match to make it to state, it put a cherry on top of the season.”

Garling is sure that Johnson will fare well at her next stop, remaining in purple and gold while playing for the NCAA Division II Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks.

“Her competitive spirit,” Garling said of what makes Johnson elite. “Her tenacity. She sets the bar high for herself and teammates. Her work ethic is unparalleled— she comes into training always willing to compete, never steps away, never takes a break. Sets that bar so high, teammates see that and want to keep up with her.”

Johnson summed it up.

“I’m glad I could leave a legacy, and I’m excited to see the future.”

Other Sequim players named to the 2023 All-Peninsula Girls Soccer Team included:

• Raimey Brewer, so.: led Wolves with nine assists, many coming off of corner kick attempts.

• Jenny Gomez, sr.: First-team All-Olympic League pick was a standout two-way player, scoring 15 goals.

• Kaia Lestage, sr.: First-team All-Olympic League selection was a chameleon for the Wolves, capable of playing every position on the field. Excelled at central-defensive midfielder.

• Libby Turella, sr.: Second-team All-Olympic League pick.

• Kalli Grove, jr.: Penalty-kick denier stopped multiple attempts this season, including two PK saves in a state-tournament sealing district win over Enumclaw and one against rival Port Angeles.

Wolves picked for gridiron team

A quartet of Sequim Wolves were selected to the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Football Team, the publication’s staff announced in late December.

On offense, sophomore Liam Wiker and offensive linemen Ayden Holland (senior) and Brayden White (junior) were picked for the team, as was senior kicker Jack Henninger. Holland was also selected for his strong season on the defensive line.

Port Angeles senior Jason Hawes, a linebacker and running back, earned the All-Peninsula Football Team’s MVP honor for the second consecutive season.

Sequim’s Brayden White, pictured here chasing Fife quarterback Mattson Ducharme in November, was recently named to the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Football team.

Sequim’s Brayden White, pictured here chasing Fife quarterback Mattson Ducharme in November, was recently named to the Peninsula Daily News’ All-Peninsula Football team.