PORT ANGELES — Despite a bit of a hiccup from a weekend snowstorm, prep sports is finally returning to the Olympic Peninsula today after a nearly year-long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, there has only been a couple of local cross country events — and then cross country promptly got shut down by snow — but beginning today, more sports can start up play thanks to the region moving to Phase 2 COVID-19 restrictions.
The Port Angeles girls soccer team is scheduled to play a game against East Jefferson, a combined Port Townsend-Chimacum team, at 6:45 p.m. today at Wally Sigmar Field at Peninsula College. However, there was still a couple of inches of snow covering the field Monday afternoon with cold rain falling on the field. Port Angeles Athletic Director Dwayne Johnson said the school district will make a determination at 10 a.m. today if the game can go ahead.
If the game can’t be played, the schools will possibly move the game to Feb. 25, Johnson said. The girls already had to cancel a Feb. 9 match against Kingston because the region had not yet moved to Phase 2 of the state’s Road to Recovery plan and are looking to possibly play that game Saturday. A game against Sequim was also postponed.
In any case, at worst, the defending league-champion Roughrider girls will return to play Thursday at Olympic, Roughriders’ Coach Scott Moseley said.
“They’re very excited to actually be playing some games,” Moseley said.
“They’re all excited to be outside and playing again,” agreed Sequim coach Derek Vander Velde. “It’s good to see them out there and having a good time.”
The defending league champs bring back much of their offensive firepower from last season, with All-League forward Millie Long back for her senior year. Long has already set league and career goal-scoring records for the Riders.
“Anything she does this year, she’s just adding to it,” Moseley said.
Joining Long will be the team’s second-leading scorer Hannah Reetz, Bailee Larson, Mia Gagnon, Anna Petty, Jada Cargo-Acosta and Katie Brown. The Riders will have to replace a very stout group of defenders that only allowed six goals in league. Isabella Money, Kiana Watson-Charles and Lucah Folden all graduated. Taking their place will be Eve Burke and Teagan Clark. Moseley said the team is still trying to settle on a goalkeeper.
Meanwhile, Sequim for the second straight year started out slow in 2019, then got red-hot down the stretch, winning nine out of 10, including two matches at district to qualify for state. Sequim and Port Angeles battled in the finale of District playoffs, with the Riders outlasting the Wolves in a 1-0 win.
If East Jefferson doesn’t get to play today, their first game will be Thursday at Klahowya.
Forks has a girls soccer team this year, with 20 girls out for the team, said Forks Athletic Director Kyle Weakley. The Spartans were set to play their first game against South Bend on Monday, but was postponed due to snow. Weakley said they are trying to reschedule to Saturday. Forks is scheduled to play Wednesday at Napavine.
Also returning today is volleyball, with the Port Angeles spikers playing at East Jefferson (Chimacum High School) at 6:15 p.m. Sequim begins its volleyball season Wednesday at Klahowya.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.