Sluggish start for EJ varsity soccer team

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 4/9/21

The East Jefferson boys varsity soccer club notched a 2-0 loss against Port Angeles and a 1-0 defeat at the feet of Klahowya last week.

In the home contest against Port Angeles, East Jefferson put …

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Sluggish start for EJ varsity soccer team

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The East Jefferson boys varsity soccer club notched a 2-0 loss against Port Angeles and a 1-0 defeat at the feet of Klahowya last week.

In the home contest against Port Angeles, East Jefferson put in a much improved display against the 2A Roughriders that followed the season opener loss to Sequim.

EJ Coach Robert Cantley said the PA game saw a finely balanced 20 minutes at the start of the matchup as both teams struggled to find clear cut openings until a mistake in defense led to Port Angeles opening the scoring. 

A couple of scoring opportunities soon came EJ’s way on the other end, with Mark Anderson coming close with a first-time shot after fine passing worked an opening on the right side to force a save from the Port Angeles goalkeeper.

Still, it wasn’t long after when EJ slipped behind 2-0 when a long ball from deep put the Roughriders’ striker through for a one-on-one with Haven McMillan in goal. After the break, Cantley said EJ came back into the game with confidence and pushed hard to find their way back in but no goals were forthcoming — despite a spirited display from a tiring and understrength squad.

East Jefferson looked to respond positively against perennial 1A powerhouse Klahowya in the following matchup on the road. 

Despite having a small and inexperienced squad, EJ unleashed an excellent effort in a toe-to-toe encounter with a team that traditionally runs out clear winners. 

East Jefferson spent much of the first half soaking up pressure from the Klahowya attack, their defense being organized by senior Yarrow Dean, with Micajah Shiflett, Sean Botkin, and Connor Scanlon. Whenever the defense was breached they had Haven McMillan behind them to keep the game scoreless. 

It was only through a corner kick 30 minutes into the contest when Klahowya found the net, the ball bouncing off the shoulder of their main striker and into the goal. 

Now a goal behind, EJ came back into the game and put pressure on the Klahowya goal. A long-range shot by EJ’s Aidan Halpin, however, was stopped by an excellent save from the Eagles’ keeper. And from the resulting corner, Dean got his head on the cross but the ball went agonizingly wide. 

During the halftime break, EJ players resolved to take the game to their opponents and from there it became a back-and-forth game of attack and defense. 

Despite some narrow scares, McMillan once again performed heroics in goal. EJ also came close on several occasions, with Elias Herman hitting the frame of the goal and seeing a goal-bound shot deflected wide. 

The midfield trio of Herman, Halpin, and Mark Anderson fought hard to keep their team going, but despite spells of continued pressure and narrow misses, the equalizing goal would not come and EJ had to be content that they can still compete with teams who benefit from strong programs despite a lack of varsity experience on the East Jefferson squad.

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