PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles’ experience and skill won out after some slow opening moments as the Roughriders picked up a first-half hat trick and an assist from Millie Long on their way to a 6-0 girls soccer win over East Jefferson.
Saturday’s match at Wally Sigmar Field came about 15 hours after the end of Port Angeles’ 2-1 rivalry win Friday evening against Sequim and, at first, the Riders looked a little sluggish.
“It was seemingly difficult for the girls to get back into soccer mode after the rivalry game,” Port Angeles coach Scott Moseley said. “We started really awkwardly and slowly, and East Jefferson has some good passing, some skillful players, and at least at first some of our girls may have underestimated them.”
Long sparked the team with a flurry of offensive mastery beginning with a breakaway goal in the sixth minute.
She added to the tally by taking a loose ball and dribbling to the near post, drawing the attention of the East Jefferson goalkeeper before sending a cross directly to Hannah Reetz all alone at the far post for the Riders’ second goal in the ninth minute.
“The one to Hannah, we specifically work on that in practice,” Moseley said. “When you attack the near post, once you get the turn, the goalkeeper has to cover the near post and it leaves that pass open, and Hannah is there to knock it in.”
Long was able to turn the East Jefferson defense again after a Reetz throw-in on the left side and fired home for a 3-0 advantage.
Her third goal, the 76th of her varsity career, was Moseley’s favorite.
Long settled a pass from defender Teagan Clark, made a number of skillful dribbles with her feet through the heart of the East Jefferson defense and uncorked a strong shot into the net.
Freshman Savannah Croteau added her first varsity goal in her debut for the Riders from a tough angle to put Port Angeles up 5-0 at the break.
The Riders put in backups at most positions for the second half, but Clark stayed on and added the final goal on a well-placed free kick.
It was the second match of the week in which Clark defended well, scored a goal and assisted on another score, Moseley said.
“We obviously have a new free kick specialist,” he joked. “That was a great shot.”
East Jefferson coach Rob Cantley said his squad knew what they had to do to try and stop Long, but trying to do that against one of the best athletes the North Olympic Peninsula has produced in decades is a different matter.
“You can’t let her turn and run on you,” Cantley said of Long. “The girls knew that and were communicating that on the field, but she’s in a class by herself.”
Cantley said his squad, full of freshmen who also play club soccer, is making strides.
“With a young team, we are doing a lot of the right things, especially compared to previous years,” he said.
“We are just a couple of steps away from being able to really compete against teams of this caliber,” Cantley added. “Being able to build our attack and create more clear goal scoring opportunities and tidying up some smaller things is what we have to work on. We have a lot of willing athletes who are working to improve.”