SEQUIM — By her own admission, Teagan Clark’s skill and touch on free kick attempts isn’t honed by thousands of offseason repetitions in the vein of a basketball player working on a 3-point shot or a thrower perfecting their javelin release.
That might make the two goals the Port Angeles senior defender scored off of free kicks, with a steady westerly breeze in the first half and into a stiff second-half breeze, even more impressive.
Clark, who displayed a penchant for the free kick goal last winter/spring, poured in a beautiful right-to-left ball to the upper left corner of the goal in the 17th minute.
“I just kind of go up and take my shot and it’s normal and natural,” Clark said.
The strike came moments after Sequim’s Hannah Wagner made a superb run up the left side of the field, juking two Roughrider defenders before it appeared she was fouled in the goal box — but no penalty kick was awarded.
Clark added an insurance goal on another free kick, this one with a much higher degree of difficulty in the 58th minute as the Roughriders edged Sequim 3-1 in the season opener for each squad.
“Probably the one with the wind blowing against me because I had to kick it harder but also have the loft to get over the goalie,” Clark said of which kick was harder to make.
The shots impressed Port Angeles coach Scott Moseley.
“Both of those were just top-class goals, pretty much unstoppable because they are in the upper 90 from 25-or-30-yards,” Moseley said. “There’s nothing the goalie can do. She had a number of those last year and was our second leading scorer.”
Bailee Larson ran down the ball and scored in the 29th minute to lift the Riders to a 2-0 lead at halftime.
“Teagan played a ball over the top and Bailee used a lot of her strength to win the ball, it was a good battle, and then she was able to finish with her head up,” Moseley said.
But as soccer fans know, the two-goal lead is considered the most dangerous in the game.
Sequim made Port Angeles work for the win in the second half.
“We told the girls three things and one of them was to stay composed, don’t play out of character and settle down,” Wolves coach Ken Garling said. “The second thing was work to the width and the third thing was smart defending. When we defend we can get going off the counter and get forward.”
Sequim cut the lead in half in the first five minutes of the second half as Wagner showed her speed and touch in dribbling past a couple of Rider defenders.
“Hannah had a nice goal for us in the 45th-46th minute that got the tempo going for us that we wanted,” Garling said. “And from there we were putting pressure on them but we just couldn’t put it in the back of the net.”
The Wolves had the better of play for the first portion of the second half, but Clark’s second strike seemed to seal the deal.
Port Angeles goalkeeper Saylah Commerton made a goal-saving stop on a Taryn Johnson shot in the 68th minute to maintain the two-goal advantage and the Riders played the ball to the corners effectively in the final moments to close out the win.
“We weren’t marking some of the running that was going on but we were able to catch up on those and Saylah had a tremendous save, a sure goal, that lifted us up,” Moseley said.
Each team was missing experienced starters.
“We have a couple of injuries, some players who couldn’t play tonight and our freshmen really stepped up,” Garling said. “I was really impressed with Libby Turella, she did great at outside right back. But really, Ivy Barret was our woman of the match. The coaches decided on that because she was tremendous on the back line, she was solid. She’s so calm, cool and collected for a freshman.”
The two squads are set to meet again at Peninsula College on Oct. 5.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected] news.com.