PORT ANGELES — A season-opening road loss to Olympic last week didn’t sit right with the Port Angeles girls soccer team.
The Roughriders rebounded, getting two goals from forward Millie Long and an assist and a goal from central defender Teagan Clark to handle a perennially tough Klahowya team 3-1 Tuesday night at Wally Sigmar Field at Peninsula College.
“The motivation of losing against Olympic because that really stung,” Long said when asked what produced the strong showing Tuesday. “This is a comeback for us because that loss motivated us to do better. We’ve tied them, we’ve lost to them, we definitely don’t take them lightly. I wouldn’t say we were intimidated by them, but we were prepared for them.”
Riders coach Scott Moseley said this performance was more characteristic of his squad’s capabilities.
“We did not play well last Thursday, and this is more back to normal,” Moseley said. “Klahowya is always a good team. They are always well-coached, and I thought that we took it to them. It will be a fun score line for people to see, 3-1.”
Long put Port Angeles on the board first in the 25th minute after she collected a long clearance from Clark, outraced the Klahowya defense and shot past the on-rushing Eagles goalkeeper.
“I remember Teagan had an awesome clearance and assist. It was a beautiful ball to me, perfect,” Long said. “And I think I already had an advantage over the defense, I was a little bit ahead of them and the goalie was the last person I had to worry about. Thankfully, she came out. That’s what I was hoping for.”
Moseley was impressed by Long’s ability to beat the defense and the goalie in the one-on-one breakaway.
“She’s able to slow the game down there and put a beautiful finish into the net,” Moseley said.
Hannah Reetz kept possession alive for the Riders on their next score, an accurately placed left-footed shot to the upper left corner by Long 10 minutes later.
“Hannah was in full aggressive mode digging out balls,” Moseley said. “The second goal, she really worked hard to win the ball, getting her body on people and poking it away. That’s the unsung work that never goes recognized sometimes, but if she doesn’t we don’t score. She played very strongly all game.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Saylah Commerton made a momentum-saving save just before halftime, diving to her right to deflect a well-struck Klahowya shot to keep the Riders up 2-0.
“I always tell my keepers we want one save a game that is extraordinary,” Moseley said. “You have to catch all the easy to medium ones, but that was the one save that we needed.”
Port Angeles’ Mia Gagnon appeared to have been fouled at the top of the goal box in the 57th minute. The official saw it differently, instead awarding an indirect free kick to the Riders.
Clark put a deft touch on the ball, chipping it over the Eagles’ goalkeeper for a 3-0 Port Angeles lead.
“Not only did she play great defense, bit Teagan had a goal and an assist, and that’s a great line for a forward, but to get that from a central defender is pretty impressive,” Moseley said.
Klahowya did scratch that goal back almost immediately a minute later, but the Riders defense stayed composed the rest of the way.
Besides Clark, junior Eve Burke was effective on defense for Port Angeles as well as varsity newcomer Paige Mason and Jayde Gedelman.
Long nearly notched the hat trick in extra time, putting a laser of a strike just over the crossbar.