A hard, consistent downpour turned Olympic Stadium’s grass into a slippery, muddy mess that both Elma and Hoquiam had to deal with on Thursday night.
The Eagles fared better than the Grizzlies, getting four goals from sophomore Brooke Sutherby — two of them by penalty kicks — to weather the storm for a 5-0 Evergreen 1A League girls soccer match win.
Alicia Hook was the other Elma player to score, with Holli Ray earning a shutout with seven saves.
“It was a bit of a slow game, because the field was sloshy and sloppy,” Elma head coach Scott Rockey said. “The girls couldn’t get much traction, so there wasn’t much in the way of combo play, but we were able to accomplish some things and keep our footing. It was a sloppy game, but a solid game for us.”
“That’s the odd thing — we’ve seen them twice and we knew exactly what they were going to do,” HHS head coach Drew Grannemann said. “We prepared for that. Our defense has been solid enough to deal with those through balls, but today, we didn’t get back fast enough to cut them off. That may be my fault for not preparing them well enough. We knew what they were going to do, how they do it and where they were going. I guess I didn’t get the gameplan set.”
Elma used its speed to negate Hoquiam’s home defensive strategy on a field that is narrower than the normal soccer fields teams on the Harbor play on. Putting Sutherby on the right wing, the Eagles sent diagonal long crosses to allow Sutherby to run onto them and threaten the Grizzlies’ goal.
Sophomore Molly Johnston found Sutherby in the 20th minute for a breakaway, which Sutherby converted with a low shot from the right into the low left corner. Elma intensified its offensive pressure for the remainder of the first half, but nothing came of it until just before the halftime whistle.
A foul on Hoquiam inside the penalty area resulted in a penalty kick for Elma. Sutherby took the spot kick and hit a high-right shot away from goalkeeper Jade Cox for a 2-0 lead.
Hoquiam had two strong chances after the penalty kick, forcing saves from Ray before halftime was called.
“We started with a different formation this time to open the field and get more of an attack in the front,” Grannemann added. “We lost a couple of possessions and takeaways with the puddles over there. That’s the fun of playing here at Olympic Stadium — after the first rain, it turns into mush. But, we love it anyway.”
The weather played a big part in the second half style of play. Most of the action was bogged down in the midfield and the ball was slippery for both goalkeepers.
In the 50th minute, a loose ball in front of goal allowed Hook to score in traffic for a 3-0 lead.
Sutherby added her third and fourth goals in quick succession — a mishandled cross allowed the sophomore to poke the ball home in the 65th minute and another penalty kick conversion in the 66th minute — to finish the scoring.
“It is working out as a combination, getting more scoring spread out and not reliant on just 1-2 players,” said Rockey of the additional scoring threats. “We are continuing to build and work toward our next match with Montesano.”
On Tuesday, Elma (2-1, 7-3) will host Forks, while Hoquiam (1-2, 4-7) travels to Tenino.