Hoquiam’s first home match of the season was played on a deteriorating Sea Breeze Oval field, but it didn’t slow down its scoring prowess against Elma on Thursday.
Senior forward Jonathan Molina took advantage of the Grizzlies’ sharp passing and long stretches of possession to score five goals — three of them in the second half — to power the hosts to a rain-drenched 6-0 Evergreen 1A boys soccer win over the Eagles.
Israel Fernandez added the final goal of the match for Hoquiam, which has scored 17 goals in two matches this season (vs. Elma and Forks). Molina has 11 of those 17 goals.
“Five goals against a pretty good team, that’s not bad,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said about Molina. “This was a really good win. We have to break down a team, especially a young Elma team that is very well-organized. We broke them down eventually. After the third goal, we went after them and it seemed like the wheels fell off for them. It was nice to see that aggressiveness.”
“The score turned out really bad,” Elma head coach Carson Seaberg said. “I told Fidel that I felt like man-to-man, we can compete with them. But as the game went on, we were more and more out of position. The more out of position we were, the more looks they got; they broke us down. Where we gave up goals, we didn’t chase the balls. All of a sudden, it is a 4-0 game and it is all over against a good team like Hoquiam.”
Elma knew it had to weather the storm, so to speak, of Hoquiam’s opening surge. For the first 20 minutes, the Grizzlies pressured and tried to break down the Eagles. It worked once, but the visitors were in good position midway through the first half.
The one time Hoquiam found space was in the eighth minute when midfielder Nick Nagala sent a through ball between two Elma defenders onto the charging feet of Molina. The senior made one move and beat goalkeeper Tyler Davis with a low left-to-right shot for a 1-0 Hoquiam lead.
Nagala set up the second Hoquiam goal in the 34th minute when his run into the penalty box forced two Elma defenders to take him down, awarding the Grizzlies a penalty kick. Molina converted the spot kick, going low left to beat Davis, for what turned into a 2-0 halftime lead.
Hoquiam didn’t waste time putting Elma under pressure coming out of halftime. Three minutes in, Molina got his hat trick and the tone was set for the remainder of the match.
Senior Austin Montoure, cited by Sanchez for his work setting up and distributing the offense at stopper, sent a long, skipping shot from 40 yards that forced Elma’s Davis into a diving save. The rebound, however, found Molina’s foot and he easily deposited the ball into the roof of the Eagle net for a 3-0 lead.
More pressure by the Hoquiam offense kept Elma from mounting a counter-attack offense to give it some space. It soon became elementary with three Grizzly goals in a six-minute span midway through the second half.
Fernandez’s dribble into the penalty area forced Davis to dive low to take the ball off his feet. However, the ball got away and Molina, following the play, pounced on the loose ball for his fourth goal of the match in the 61st minute.
Less than two minutes later, Molina stole a goal kick from Davis 20 yards out and sent the ball back into the net for his fifth and final goal and a 5-0 lead. Fernandez ended the scoring in the 67th minute when Ivan Salguero’s header off a Molina cross went through the goalkeeper’s box and to the senior forward, who blasted it past Davis.
On Tuesday, Hoquiam (2-0) visits Montesano, while Elma (0-2) travels to Tenino.