PORT ANGELES — The list of accolades for Port Angeles freshman Emilia Long is lengthy.
Long to-taled the best statistical season of any player on the North Olympic Peninsula and in the Olympic League 2A Division in 2017 — notching highs in goals (17) and assists (15) as the Roughriders made a deep run through district play and on to the Class 2A state girls soccer quarterfinals and tying for the most wins in a season in school history with 13.
She was involved in nearly 50 percent of Port Angeles’ 66 total goals, the second-best goal scoring total in program history. Long notched five goals and three assists in the Riders’ six-game playoff run and was picked as Port Angeles’ Offensive Player of the Year and as a first-team All-Olympic League 2A Division team member.
For all these accomplishments, Long is the All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP as determined by area coaches and the Peninsula Daily News sports staff.
It took Long a few games to figure out where she fit in with the Port Angeles varsity. But once she did her presence opened up the Riders’ offense and helped the team get on a winning track.
“I played some defense in the first part of the season, I played a couple of positions at first to see where I fit in,” Long said. “In the first few games I was excited to be on the team and I don’t think I scored at all because I was learning what I had to do and getting to know how to play with new people and learning a bunch of new stuff.
“I was a little off the first few games. Once I got to know everyone, at first I felt like I didn’t want to be a ball-hog, later on I figured out its OK to shoot. I guess I was just afraid to take some chances.”
Long said the Riders coaching staff gave her the green light to shoot early and often.
“They told me to shoot more and if I was open I should take it,” Long said. “They were very supportive, very encouraging, the coaches were great.”
Her breakout game came away against Port Townsend when she assisted on a goal and scored her first two varsity goals in the first 21 minutes in a Port Angeles win.
“Millie had a great first 21 minutes — two goals and an assist. It was a very powerful start to the game,” Riders coach Scott Moseley said after the game. “We talked about setting the tone early and Millie made a clear statement.”
Those statements soon came on a regular basis for Port Angeles as Long posted games like a 7-1 win over Kingston in which she dished out three assists and scored twice. Or her hat trick, a three-goal performance, in a 6-1 win over Bremerton.
Moseley was impressed by how much pace she can put on her shot and her athleticism.
“I think how well she struck the ball, she just has a natural way of hitting the ball and can just flush her shot,” Moseley said. “She hits a really, really hard shot.”
He pointed to a goal against Bremerton in which Long dribbled upfield on the outside of the goal box, glanced off a charging defender causing her to spin 360 degrees, before recovering to get back on the ball and chip it to the far post for a score.
“That toughness to recover coupled with the finesse needed to chip that ball so perfectly was so impressive,” Moseley said.
“And the second thing is she is in the right place at the right time. She has a lot of sports IQ, she just knows where to be. She finds the open spot, whether its passing to her teammates or scoring, its just a natural thing. She’s played a lot of basketball and soccer and she just fits in and finds the space.”
Moseley also was impressed by Long’s ability to finish or distribute the ball with either foot.
“We played her typically on the outside, left or right, and she can hit the ball equally well with either foot,” he said. “I’ve never had a freshman that could hit the ball with either foot. It’s natural for her, its not uncomfortable with either foot.
And she’s pretty fleet of foot as well.
“What’s interesting is a lot of her goals didn’t come off her speed, but a lot of her assists were generated by that,” Moseley said. “She was able to pretty consistently beat most team’s outside defenders and then serve a ball inside.”
Her biggest assist came in the Riders’ come-from-behind 3-2 rivalry win over Sequim when she drew the attention of a pack of Wolves before finding Sierra Robinson alone in front of the net.
“[Long] was carrying the ball on the outside of the 18[-yard box] and she had like four defenders on her, so it left me wide open right in front of the goal,” Robinson said. “I just yelled as loud as I could and she played a perfect ball to me and I don’t even remember shooting, but I did, and the next thing I knew it was in the net.
“I heard the dink [of the ball tapping the crossbar] and it was a good moment.”
And Long kept up those good moments in the postseason, netting five goals and three assists in six playoff contests.
“So even as we started to face state-level competition she was still able to score,” Moseley said. “There wasn’t any sort of dropoff.”
ALL PENINSULA GIRLS SOCCER TEAM
PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles’s freshman forward Emilia Long heads up the 2017 All-Peninsula Girls Soccer Team.
Long was selected All-Peninsula MVP by area coaches and the sports staff of the Peninsula Daily News.
Fellow team members are: Goalkeeper: Claire Henninger, sr, Sequim;
Defenders: Delaney Wenzl, soph, Port Angeles; Kennedy Mason, sr, Port Angeles; Jada Trafton, jr., Chimacum; Shanzi Cosgrove, sr., Port Angeles;
Midfielders: Krysten McGuffey, jr., Port Angeles; Natalie Torres, jr, Sequim; Adare McMinn, sr., Sequim; Grace Johnson, jr., Chimacum.
Forwards: Sierra Robinson, sr., Port Angeles; Jessica Dietzman, so., Sequim.
Port Angeles coach Scott Moseley was selected as Coach of the Year for guiding the Roughriders to the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
Honorable mentions go to: Cheyenne Wheeler, sr., Port Angeles; Emily Boyd, sr, Port Angeles; Lola Del Guzzi-Flores, sr., Port Angeles; Yana Hoesel, jr. Sequim; Hannah Marx, sr., Port Townsend; Kaitlyn Meek, sr., Port Townsend; Natalya James, fr, Sequim.