ADNA — Though the Adna girls soccer team is replacing most of its key contributors from a state runner-up squad a year ago, its current class of seniors has helped ease the transition, led by Karlee VonMoos and Destiny Roller.
That new leadership was evident, and important, to a 3-2 victory over rival Napavine Monday night in Pirate Country.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a battle,” Pirates coach Patrick Richardson said. “We had our gameplan, but the biggest piece was not overthinking it. Don’t overhype it too much in your head. We just had to do what we do and be successful at it, and eventually things will start clicking.”
And at least offensively, it clicked for most of the game for the Pirates, who have rattled off seven straight wins after a season-opening loss to Elma. VonMoos, a captain for Adna, banged home the first goal of the night for the Pirates in the 14th minute from over 30 yards out, just out of the reach of Tiger keeper Taylen Evander.
After Hannah Fay scored an equalizer for the Tigers on a penalty kick in the 29th, Roller struck right back for the Pirates on a breakaway goal setup by a nice pass into the final third from Lydia Tobin in the 36th.
Destiny Roller’s sister, Alainna, doubled Adna’s lead with a goal in the 52nd, and the Pirates held on after Napavine’s Dani Tupuola scored in stoppage time to defeat their rivals on a big night at home.
While VonMoos was an underclassmen leader as a junior for the soccer squad a year ago, Destiny Roller, in particular, has impressed her coach with how she’s approached the new season in a much more prominent offensive role.
“Destiny has stepped up to the plate this year and took it upon herself to improve and help us where she could,” Richardson said. “Having her and Karlee is a big help … we have a great group of seniors.”
Though Richardson acknowledged his team is far from a polished product, letting Napavine hang around and make it a one-score game late thanks to some added pressure, he’s been impressed with how quickly the team has grasped new ideas on finishing in the final third. Getting shots off has never been an issue in Adna, but finishing goals is something the Pirates have always needed work on.
“That’s been something we’ve worked on for years,” Richardson said. “We’ve always gotten opportunities but they aren’t clean looks. We’ve had games, even this year, where we have a ton of shots but only a couple of goals. We’ve been working on refining those little things, the nice part is with the youth, it clicks a bit better with them making those adjustments. It's nice to see that they’ve had that growth over the season so far.”
On the other side, the Tigers had their opportunities, but couldn’t capitalize where the Pirates could. After falling behind, Napavine made a concerted effort to pressure Adna harder, and got two good looks at goals before Tupuola’s shot in the 78th, but couldn’t put the ball through the back of the net.
The Tigers will look to bounce back against Forks on the road Wednesday while the Pirates take on Ilwaco at home.