PORT ANGELES — What can the Port Angeles Roughriders girls soccer team do as an encore to last season’s march to a school-record tying 13 wins and a trip to the Class 2A state quarterfinals?
“We can get into the final four instead of the final eight,” Roughriders coach Scott Moseley deadpanned.
Moseley, entering his 10th season as Port Angeles head coach, was kidding … but only slightly.
After a 30-year break between visits, the Riders have made two straight state appearances, including Port Angeles’ first round triumph over East Valley Yakima last season, the Riders’ first state victory since 1985.
Moseley is hoping the state tournament runs become a tradition.
“From the coaching staff’s perspective the program is moving hopefully into a maintenance state, where that type of success becomes the norm and not an exception,” he said.
The Riders did lose many contributors from last season’s team, the bulk in defense and midfield, but Port Angeles should continue to be potent offensively after leading the Olympic League in goals scored (35 league, 66 overall) in 2017.
“Nine seniors that have graduated, but we still have a number of top players in key positions,” Moseley said.
“Our strength will continue to be our offense.”
The Riders return sophomore Millie Long, the reigning Peninsula Daily News All-Peninsula Girls Soccer (and basketball) MVP and a first-team All-Olympic League 2A selection as a freshman.
Long totaled 17 goals and 15 assists in 2017.
Senior Kyrsten McGuffey was a second-team all-league pick and will return in midfield.
“We should see lots of assists and lots of goals from Millie and Kyrsten,” Moseley said.
“We scored goals in bunches last year and the players we have will continue to do that,” Moseley said. “We have a lot of speed and quickness in the midfield and at forward.”
Junior defender Delaney Wenzl also scored 10 goals last season.
“We told her to go forward and go score goals and make some assists,” Moseley said.
Junior Lucah Folden also returns defensively. Maddie Roening will serve as the Port Angeles goalkeeper.
“One of our main emphasis’ will be defense because we know we can score goals but we have to keep the ball out of the net,” Moseley said.
Port Angeles (2A)
• Coach: Scott Moseley, 10th season.
• Last year: 13-9-0 overall, 7-5-0 Olympic League; advanced to Class 2A state quarterfinals — 4-3 loss to West Valley (Spokane).
• Player to watch: Millie Long (soph., F)
• Returners: Kyrsten McGuffey (sr., MF); Delaney Wenzl (soph., D).; Lucah Folden ( jr., D); Summer Olsen (sr., MF); Maddie Roening (jr., GK).
• Newcomers to watch: Catie Brown fr., F; Bailee Larsen, fr., F; Teagen Clark, fr., D; Mia Gagnon, fr., MF.
• Outlook: The Roughriders have the talent offensively to make every game a shootout — and they may need to do so to come close to last season’s school-record tying win total.
Moseley expects North Kitsap and Olympic to be near the top of the Olympic League.
“Typically NK and Olympic will be strong and then it’s this fight for third and fourth [places],” Moseley said. “North Mason will be tough again and I think Sequim, NM and PA will compete for those third and fourth [district playoff spots].”
SEQUIM — An experienced pack of Wolves returns under third-year girls soccer coach Derek Vandervelde.
“We have 14 players returning that all saw varsity time,” Vandervelde said.
That includes junior forwards Jessica Dietzman, Hope Glasser and senior midfielder Nathalie Torres.
Defenders Yana Hoesel, Gabby Happe, Kristina Mingoy and Mary McAleer also saw extensive playing time in 2017.
And senior Claire Payne returns after suffering a torn ACL in her knee last season.
“With our defense, the team’s strengths lie there and in possessing the ball and really working on the attack this year,” Vandervelde said.
“Some teams like to play the long ball over the top and chase the ball down offensively, but that’s not really what I have in mind.
“I’d like to see the distribution come from all over the field and be able to build up the play but take opportunities offensively when the space exists.”
Another Claire, graduated goalkeeper Claire Henninger, is a freshman on the Western Washington University women’s soccer team.
Henniger was the 2016 All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP and a staple of All-Olympic League teams in recent seasons.
Sophomore Olivia Hare steps into the position full time this fall.
“Olivia did fill in and play a few games at keeper last year,” Vandervelde said.
“She has a lot of talent and I’m really confident in Olivia’s ability to be a great keeper and develop into being a quality keeper.”
• Coach: Derek Vandervelde, third season
• Last year: 9-7-0 overall, 6-6-0, fifth in Olympic League. Missed playoffs.
• Player to watch: Jessica Dietzman (jr., F)
• Returners: Hope Glasser (jr., F); Eden Johnson (jr., F); Nathalie Torres ( sr., MF); Natalya James (soph., MF); Abby Shroeder (soph., MF); Alexis Smith (jr., CDM); Yana Hoesel (sr., D); Mary McAleer (soph., D); Gabby Happe (jr., D); Kristina Mingoy (jr., D); Claire Payne (sr., D); Olivia Hare (soph., GK).
• Newcomer to watch: Autumn Hiliard (jr., MF).
• Outlook: Sequim went .500 in Olympic League play (6-6) and missed out on a second-consecutive district playoff berth by one win last season.
Breaking that barrier and getting back to the postseason is a team goal, according to Vandervelde.
“I’m looking at reaching .500 in league again,” Vandervelde said. “I would love to get into the top four, make districts and see what happens.”