DISTRICT SOCCER: Sequim clinches a return trip to state

LAKEWOOD — Sequim is headed back to the Class 2A girls soccer state tournament after a 5-3 penalty-kick shootout win over Orting on Tuesday night at Harry E. Lang Stadium.

“They were elated,” Wolves coach Derek Vander Velde said. “Screaming, shouting and carrying on in the field, in the locker room and on the bus. I think they knew they’ve reached kind of a pinnacle for them. Two years in a row to reach the state tournament and in our first three district trips [all-time].”

Sequim led 1-0 at halftime on a goal by Hope Glasser.

“We basically got through their back line and Hope was able to take the ball from the corner, come up the end line and had a little bit of an angle and took the shot,” Vander Velde said.

Orting tied it up midway through the second half and the Wolves had opportunities to take the lead in regulation or win it on a walk off in the two overtime sessions.

“We had chances all over the place,” Vander Velde said. “One came off the crossbar, missed by a margin of inches on another. We should have been able to walk away in 80 [minutes] or on a golden goal [in overtime].”

But the Wolves buckled down mentally and made their kicks when it counted in the shootout earning the state trip, but maybe most importantly, avoiding the emotional swing of playing a loser-out contest today in the Tacoma area, what would have been the team’s third trip south since last Saturday.

“Exactly, that’s something we talked about as a coaching staff and as a team,” Vander Velde said. “Making sure that we finished the game out so we could have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to rest and prepare and avoid having to play four games in a week — all on long road trips.”

He said the team’s progress is fun to watch.

“This group of girls just seem to get better and better with each game,” he said. “Not by leaps and bounds, it’s a little notch up and a little notch up. They are really coming together, trusting each other, trusting us coaches and it’s apparent every time they step on the field. It’s awesome to coach them.”

He credited Natalya James for her play.

“Natalya James was huge. She was calm for us. Everybody was working hard, working smart and playing calm.

“It was like a well-oiled machine last night. Great to watch the connections, the creativity and all the little things we’ve been working on just for four years, but this season.”

Sequim (11-5-1) will face Port Angeles in a match to decide the third and fourth district seeds to state. The game will be played Saturday at Peninsula College, the time dependent on the kickoffs for Peninsula’s NWAC quarterfinal men’s and women’s soccer matches, also set for Wally Sigmar Field on Saturday as the college will host a soccer tripleheader all day long.

“We are going to play it up,” Vander Velde said. “We want the highest seed.”

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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