Girls soccer: Elma finishes off Hoquiam, 5-1

Elma was determined Thursday night to not repeat what happened the first time it met Hoquiam on the soccer pitch this season.

The Eagles’ relentless offensive push was slowed a bit by Hoquiam’s defense, but the visitors found their scoring touch in the final 20 minutes to secure a 5-1 Evergreen 1A girls soccer win at Olympic Stadium.

Natalie Grant and Brooke Goldsmith each scored two goals for Elma (10-1), with Sydney Smythe starting the scoring in the sixth minute. Barbara Meamber knocked home Hoquiam’s lone marker.

“That was a great match,” Elma head coach Chris Schumacher said. “We got some finishing going. All in all, it was a great performance by the girls. We did go to a new formation, more of an attacking formation with two points. We’re still a little new at it. Hoquiam really played hard.”

“That was a great game,” HHS head coach Corri Schmid said. “Elma proved tonight why it is the No. 1 team. In the second half, we controlled it and let down just a little bit. Elma took full advantage of it. They’re a good team.”

The first time these two Grays Harbor rivals met was at Elma’s Davis Field. On that night, the Eagles dominated play. They took more shots, pressured the Grizzlies and did everything you needed to do to win — except score goals. Elma held a slim 1-0 lead before Hoquiam (7-4) tied the match midway through the second half and took the lead in the final seconds for a 2-1 win.

Smythe, Grant and Goldsmith made sure that didn’t happen on this night.

An opening match surge produced the first goal of the night. Goldsmith teed up a shot from 18 yards out and Hoquiam goalkeeper Jensina Alvarenga saved the bullet shot by pushing it onto the crossbar. On the rebound, Smythe slid in and knocked the ball home in the sixth minute.

A 2-0 lead looked apparent when Grant was taken down on a foul inside the penalty area in the 24th minute. However, Alvarenga saved the penalty kick try from Hannah Heelan to keep the margin close.

Hoquiam’s defense survived the constant offensive pressure by Elma with short, crisp possession passes that slowed the pace down. However, the Eagles found ways to break the defense down with quick transition plays. One of those gave Elma a 2-0 lead.

Goldsmith got her first assist of the night when she took control 35 yards out and fed Grant on the run with a lead through ball behind the Grizzly defense. Grant got one touch for control and beat Alvarenga high left for the goal in the 38th minute.

Meamber gave the home crowd something to cheer about in the final minute of the first half. Taking a feed from Sarah Chapin, Meamber got behind Elma’s defense and beat goalkeeper Alyssa Sutherby for the goal and a 2-1 halftime score.

Hoquiam produced a clinic in possession soccer in the first 20 minutes of the second half. Elma’s surging offense grounded to a halt as Hoquiam’s Kayla Hilliard controlled the Grizzlies’ offense. The possession only produced a few shots and a few corner-kick chances, but Hoquiam controlled the pace of the match.

In the 60th minute, Goldsmith and Grant took that control back. On a give-and-go play, Goldsmith chipped over Alvarenga into the far right corner for a 3-1 lead. One minute later, Grant took a run at Alvarenga and slid the ball past her for a 4-1 lead.

Goldsmith ended the scoring in the 68th minute when he controlled a bouncing long ball from Izzy Cristelli and scored from 15 yards out.

Hoquiam suffered a blow to its depth in the 70th minute when Chapin fell and struck her head on the ground inside the penalty area. She was helped off the field by Schmid with a head injury.

On Tuesday, Elma begins a four-match week with a road trip to Ocosta, while Hoquiam stays home to greet Napavine.