PORT TOWNSEND — Port Townsend girls soccer star Irina Lyons has a bull’s-eye on her back.
Teams know that if they stop Lyons, the top scorer on the North Olympic Peninsula last year, they have a good shot at stopping the Redskins.
Port Angeles targeted Lyons in Tuesday’s opening game for both teams and came away with an impressive 3-0 victory.
“Irina was a concern for us as well as some of their other scorers,” Port Angeles coach Scott Moseley said.
“We really wanted good team defense for the first game.”
The Roughriders had 24 shots on goal to Port Townsend’s four and pretty much dominated the game.
That’s mainly because Rider defensive standout Paxton Rodocker was all over Lyons and any other Port Townsend forward who wandered into the Port Angeles backfield.
Lyons, who had 17 goals as a sophomore in 2010 and was named the Olympic League co-MVP, is not easy to stop, first-year Port Townsend coach Ryan Moss said.
“Irina is very strong on the ball,” he said. “She is fearless and not afraid to throw her body around.”
The junior forward, a team captain, is taking more of a leadership role this year.
“My goal this year is to play harder and to be more of a team leader,” Lyons said.
“I also want to be more of a threat on offense like I was last year.”
The Redskins are learning a new style of play and are a younger team than last year with only four seniors. Twelve players graduated from the 2010 squad.
“Last year we were a run-and-shoot team but this year we are more of a possession team,” Lyons said. “It is a big switch for us.”
The Redskins will pass the ball more and has set offensive plays, Lyons said.
“We’re a younger team and it’s good to get the new concept down.”
While Port Townsend might struggle a little bit early with the new offense, don’t count Lyons out as a threat.
“Irina is a very dynamic player,” Moss said. “She creates a lot of opportunities for herself and for the team.”
In addition, Lyons has strong goals this year.
“She has very high expectations for herself and for the team,” Moss said.
“She sets the bar very high for herself.”
And even though Lyons can get down on herself sometimes because of those high expectations, she is becoming a strong team leader, according to Moss.
“She’s been very positive this year and good at picking other people up.”
Lyons, who also was the girls soccer All-Peninsula MVP last year, already is getting attention from college women’s soccer teams.
“I have heard from Cleveland State and a couple of other schools,” Lyons said.“Going to college and playing at that level is definitely a big goal for me.”