SPORTS: Port Angeles holds off Sequim 3-1 in boys soccer

SEQUIM — Last year, the “curse of Chris Saari” was lifted by the Port Angeles boys soccer team.

Now, after beating the Sequim Wolves 3-1 on a cold, crisp Tuesday night in Dungeness Valley, the Roughriders took a step toward breaking another ignominious streak.

Anthony Brandon had two goals and an assist, and goalkeeper Jack Doryland came up with a critical penalty kick save as Port Angeles earned its second win against Sequim in the seven-year tenure of head coach Chris Saari.

The first came less than a year ago for a Port Angeles team that eventually fell short of the playoffs for the eighth straight season.

After the second win Tuesday, however, this year’s Riders (2-1-2 in league, 7-3-2 overall) are well-positioned to end a postseason drought that dates back to 2002.

“[Sequim is] a pivotal team that usually finishes in the middle to the top of the [standings], and if we can get the three points here, that’s huge for us,” Saari said.

“We would have been happy with one [from a tie], but three is [great].”

For a moment, it looked as if the Riders might have to settle for that tie.

Sequim, which went down 2-0 in the first 17 minutes, had already scored one goal and was looking at an equalizer when big Jerry Azanza lined up for a penalty kick in the 32nd minute.

But Doryland read the senior midfielder’s body language and guessed right, diving to his left to save Azanza’s bouncing kick toward the right post.

The sophomore keeper then gathered the ball and outletted it for a counter attack that ended in Brandon’s second goal of the game.

“I was just trying to read [Azanza],” Doryland said.

“I saw him looking to one side and the angle he was on the ball I could see where he was going to go. It didn’t seem that hard after that.”

Brandon’s breakaway score, coming after he tipped the ball past Sequim’s on-rushing keeper, Byron Boots, and kicked it into an open net, was much like the Riders’ other two goals Wednesday night.

Utilizing their speed up front with Brandon and company, the Riders scored on counter attacks in the 15th and 17th minutes as well.

The first came when Brandon dribbled the ball down the right side and centered it to Tamrat Haskins, who blasted it into the right side of the net for a 1-0 lead in the 15th minute.

Two short minutes later, Brandon took a through ball from Hayden McCartney, dribbled it past Boots and kicked it into an empty net.

“It was a good win. We played well, we passed well and then we finished well,” Brandon said.

“We’ve got a lot of speed up top, and we’ve got a lot of through balls. They had a pretty quick, good defense, we just played those through balls and beat them to it.”

Sequim (0-2-0, 4-5-0) quickly answered with its only goal of the game in the 19th minute.

Saul Flores dribbled past a couple of defenders on the left side and centered a ball through the middle of the penalty box and onto the right foot of Omar Flores.

Sequim kept the pressure on after that, with Mitch McHugh getting denied twice by Doryland on a pair of point-blank shots in the 28th minute.

Soon after, Azanza was fouled by Owen Kays-Erdman on a run through the left side of the penalty box.

Of course, that’s when Sequim’s shot at 2-2 soon became a 3-1 hole.

“It was huge for us,” Saari said of Doryland’s save, followed by the quick goal.

“Sequim is a tough team. If you give them life, they are going to punish you.

“That was the momentum swing that we needed.”

Sequim had more chances in the second half as Port Angeles packed in its defense.

But Nick Camporini’s shot from 16 yards out sailed over the goal, and Mason Barrett’s shot on a breakaway attempt in the 73rd minute also went wide.

“PA played well,” said Sequim coach Dave Brasher, whose Wolves beat the Riders 3-0 earlier this spring.

“They’ve got a good counter attack and they’ve got some quick kids up front.

“When we get pushing forward, they get that counter attack and you’ve got to be almost perfect with it and we weren’t.”

Brandon and Haskins were named the offensive players of the match, Doryland was the defensive player and McCartney the transition player.

Doryland finished with seven saves as Port Angeles outshot the Wolves 13-8 on the game.

“We tried to get forward with numbers, we just need to be ready with the counter attack,” Brasher said.

“We’re getting there.”

Port Angeles 3, Sequim 1

Port Angeles 3 0 — 3

Sequim 1 0 — 1

Scoring Summary

First half: 1, Port Angeles, Haskins (Brandon), 15th minute; 2, Port Angeles, Brandon (McCartney), 17th minute; 1, Sequim, O. Flores (S. Flores), 18th minute; 3, Port Angeles, Brandon, 33rd minute.

Second Half: No scoring.

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