PORT ANGELES — The superstar controlled play, the newcomers stepped up and Port Angeles showed its strength in a 4-1 pasting of rival Sequim on a soggy Civic Field on Thursday.
“What we always like to see is a team grow over the course of a game and by the end of the game we were flexing over them,” Roughriders head coach Scott Moseley said.
Moseley was speaking metaphorically of course, as Port Angeles showed off its potent offensive attack after first spotting Sequim and goal scorer Abby Schroeder a one-goal lead in the seventh minute.
The Roughriders were missing senior midfielder and captain Delaney Wenzl with an injury and were in a different formation than usual with personnel in unfamiliar areas.
“It took awhile to figure out what Sequim was doing,” Moseley said.
The Wolves took advantage and nearly added another score almost instantly.
“About 30 seconds after they scored they had another shot and [goalkeeper] Madi Roening did this tip [of a Sequim shot] that I thought that was going in. If they get a second one right away [that’s a tough start]. The other big moment is when Jada [Cargo] bulled her way in and beat [Sequim goalkeeper] Olivia [Hare] near post. I think that was the, ‘Oh, I guess we can play and beat Olivia’ [realization].’
Cargo’s goal off of an assist by Bella Money, tied the game at 1-1 in the 14th.
“Jada, she uses her body so well. She’s so fast and so strong,” Port Angeles’ Millie Long said.
Long, the reigning All-Peninsula Girls Soccer MVP, lifted her game at that point.
She gave the Riders the lead in the 33rd minute, dribbling from midfield through a pack of Wolves before unleashing a left-footed laser that found the upper left corner.
Sequim had a couple of chances to tie before halftime on some excellent crosses by Daisy Ryan, but couldn’t put ball on boot and find the net.
It was all Port Angeles after halftime as Long and the Riders took the game over.
Long and varsity newcomer Hannah Reetz connected on a gorgeous goal in the 56th minute just after having a goal taken off the board for an offsides violation.
“Hannah’s goal I was so happy because I thought [the cross] was going to go out. That happens a lot of times when I cross it too hard. But I look up and Hannah is right there to slide in and tap it right into goal. That happened twice but one they called offsides. She’s so good at that. She hasn’t played soccer for a long time but she just knows where to be.”
Reetz has returned to soccer after some time away, but her offensive instincts are still readily apparent.
“She played Storm King in seventh grade and scored a game winner,” Long said.
Moseley was impressed by the play.
“I told Hannah I had never seen a player put their body into danger just to get something on it,” Moseley said. “Sliding in and putting it in is really a smart, gutsy play. And you sell out and get rewarded with your first varsity goal.”
Long added the fourth goal when she gained possession of the ball and beat Hare on a low bouncing shot to the right.
“I think both of her goals were just using her speed and quickness and she’s covered by three players but somehow she’s got the ball and it’s in the net,” Moseley said.
Long said her squad knew how important the game was in setting the tone for the Olympic League season.
“Yes, we were really nervous because last year they beat us,” Long said. “And we knew we couldn’t take them lightly because they are a good team. We knew we had to step up.”
Sequim was left to think about how to respond to the loss — with coach Derek Vander Velde requiring his team to ride the bus together back to Sequim.
“We had some moments,” Vander Velde said. “I think we kind of checked out a bit mentally after [our] goal. We had some opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on, that we kind of lost it and left it. And if we had played more of that style, if we had made more of those types of connections, we would have found the back of the net.
“It was tough to watch for sure. But we’ve been through this before, they are a resilient group and it’s up to them now to decide, ‘Hey what do we do with this? And this is a test, this is a moment, right? This is deciding, OK, I want the rest of this season to look like how we finished last season. So it becomes how do I pick myself up and go on?
Sequim (0-1-0, 1-1-0) hosts Bremerton on Tuesday.