The Grays Harbor Gulls battled their opponent, and the heat, en route to a key 2-0 victory over Northern Peninsula FC in Montesano on Saturday, remaining one spot above the relegation line in Cascadia Premier League’s second division.
The Gulls (1-6-1 overall) started the match controlling the pace of play, dominating possession with an aggressive style that led to four shots on goal in the first 10 minutes of the match.
Grays Harbor capitalized on its early success when Gabe Arias took a throw-in from Jose Melendez and popped the ball over a defender before placing a low shot to the near post for a 1-0 Gulls lead in the 25th minute.
In the second half, heat and fatigue began to play a factor for both teams, according to Gulls head coach Drew Grannemann.
“Pace of play was definitely slower and mistakes were more prevalent,” said Grannemann, who said his team was excited to get back on the pitch against Northern Peninsula after a loss in Port Townsend on June 11. “We knew we were pretty evenly matched and were excited to face off against them again.”
Halfway through the second half, the Gulls offense struck again.
William Galena sent a ball toward Hulizes Chavez, who headed the ball forward to Christian Molina.
Molina quickly got to full speed and around his defender, then beat the keeper with a well-placed shot into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead in the 60th minute.
Gulls keeper Alexis Garcia made some clutch saves down the stretch to preserve the shutout.
The victory was the first of the season for the Gulls and the first since 2019 after COVID caused a shutdown of the 2020 season and limited the 2021 season to tournaments.
With the win, the Gulls stay one point ahead of sixth place in league with three games left on the schedule.
Grays Harbor will play its final home game of the 2022 campaign at 2 p.m. on July 30 at Stewart Field (if available).
Northern Peninsula 0 0 — 0
Grays Harbor 1 1 — 2
First half — 1, Gulls, Arias (Melendez), 25th minute.