PORT ANGELES — A booming cough, some blistering shots and blanketing defense were all part of Port Angeles’ state-tournament clinching 6-0 district playoff win over Steilacoom on Tuesday night at Wally Sigmar Field at Peninsula College.
A deep and capable Roughriders team sent the Sentinels packing and earned the program’s third state berth in the last four seasons with the shutout victory, the 11th shutout of the season for Port Angeles, an all-time program high.
The Riders (14-2-1) advance to face Sequim (11-5-1) on Saturday in a match that will provide the district’s third and fourth seeds to the state tournament.
The 14 wins are a program record for Port Angeles, which will host Saturday’s playoff game back at Wally Sigmar Field — the exact time dependent on Peninsula College’s NWAC quarterfinal games also set Saturday on campus.
It was a composed and confident group of Riders that ran roughshod over the Sentinels — scoring almost at will in the second half and denying Steilacoom any shots on goal for the entire match.
“A dominant performance by a really good soccer team,” Port Angeles head coach Scott Moseley said of his squad.
“These seniors have been to state three out of four years, so it’s been a great run for them.”
The scoring started early as Port Angeles’ all-time single-season leading scorer Millie Long added to her recently set record with her 30th goal in the ninth minute. Senior midfielder Delaney Wenzl poked a loose ball to Long who beat the onrushing Sentinels goalkeeper.
Long assisted on the next Port Angeles score in the 26th minute taking advantage of a 2-on-1 situation to find Hannah Reetz open in the goal box. Reetz wound up and delivered a blistering shot that stayed down and found the net for a 2-0 lead.
“It takes a second to warm up and when we all click, we all click and work together. I think we just had to get that first goal to get it started,” Reetz said.
Reetz was soon subbed out for a pre-halftime rest — and the rapid change from active participant to the bench triggered a series of deep, booming coughs from the junior.
Reetz laughed away any concerns about her coughing spree after the game.
“When I got subbed out [in the first half] I had a coughing attack,” Reetz said. “It only got bad when I stopped playing.”
Reetz cleaned up on a scrum inside the goal box and found the net early in the second half for her 10th goal of the season in the 47th minute and rattled the goal posts twice in the second half with close-in shots that were inches away from paydirt and a hat trick.
Moseley was impressed with Reetz’ play.
“She’s been coughing up a lung for a while,” he said. “Hannah was all over the place and had lots of opportunities, a great work rate. You get into those positions by working hard. And she gets goals. She’s the second-leading scorer on the team — it’s no fluke. She’s fearless.”
The floodgates opened after Reetz’ second score.
“We flip-flopped Delaney and Bailee,” Moseley said. “So instead of Delaney playing high, Bailee was playing high and that allows Delaney to get forward more and able to distribute the ball a little better. And Bailee is able to be the linchpin in making some of the passes in connecting the defense to the offense.”
Wenzl cleaned up on her own corner kick for Port Angeles’ fourth goal, sending in a sharply angled cross that curved across the goal line and was headed in by Long for good measure, if not a goal.
Long added her second goal, No. 31 on the season, on a connection from senior defender Kiana Watson-Charles.
Reetz said she can tell when Long is on the verge of making a big play.
“I just watch her face. Her face and her feet,” Reetz said. “When she stops for a second I know she’s going to go [and make a move]. I’ve been playing with her since sixth grade, so I know what’s she going to do — and when to run and when to wait.”
And Wenzl finished off the scoring with an accurate free kick from the deep middle of the field — a fitting final tally for a dominant performance.
“I really liked Delaney’s shot,” Moseley said. “She was able to crank that 30-yarder upper corner. We got goals but that was a true dagger.”
Reetz enjoyed Wenzl’s play as well.
“She was so good. She did an amazing job,” Reetz said.
Moseley was pleased with how his squad translated concepts from the practice field.
“They applied a lot that we worked on in practice,” Moseley said. “We worked on cutting the ball across [the goal mouth] and we didn’t necessarily score off those, but I’d love to see the video to see how many went off the frame of the goal.”
And he enjoyed how his team denied the Sentinels defensively.
“[Steilacoom] didn’t have a shot on goal. One of the key factors is teams just don’t get shots on us. Team defense and they aren’t breaking us down. And it’s pretty fun. I think they pride themselves on they aren’t going to let other teams get good looks on goal.”
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]