ELMA — The Elma-Hoquiam boys soccer rivalry may have graduated to a full-fledged derby if Friday night’s contest at Davis Field is any indication.
The host Eagles will be glad for it, too, as long as the scoreboard indicated a win.
A late first-half goal by Edgar Hermenegildo tied this match before halftime and he provided the eventual winning goal in the second half for Elma’s hard-fought 3-1 victory over Hoquiam in Evergreen 1A play.
Senior Angel Mazariegos got the scoring going in the 24th minute for Hoquiam (0-1, 0-2), which saw a penalty-kick chance squandered earlier in the match. Junior Steven Persell sealed the game for Elma (2-0, 2-1) with a marker in the 77th minute.
“This is a big win for us,” Elma head coach Carson Seaberg said. “The guys played well. Just to start the season, it is nice to come out with a win like this.”
“I thought we played pretty good for the players we had,” HHS head coach Fidel Sanchez said. “Those two goals, we didn’t clear the ball. Those are fixable. Give (Elma) credit for taking it to us in the second half. The momentum swung to them and (Hermenegildo) did a great job up top carrying that momentum.”
Hermenegildo evened the match late in the first half by being in the right place at the right time. A through ball allowed him to side-step HHS goalkeeper Tahj Malone, but he only got just enough on the ball to bounce it over a Hoquiam defender into the net.
“Things don’t have to flow to Edgar — if the ball is on his foot, he’ll fire,” Seaberg said. “He’s clutch. He has always come up with shots and goals late in halves and in games that make the difference. That goal gave us a chance to come out in the second half and make things happen.”
Hoquiam could have been forgiven if it believed it should have had a one-goal lead heading into halftime.
Sophomore midfielder Alex PugaDeLaRosa was fouled just inside the penalty area to give the Grizzlies a penalty kick in the 13th minute. Senior forward Ivan Salguero stepped up to take the attempt, but he didn’t get anything behind his shot as it trickled into the belly of Elma goalkeeper Tyler Davis.
The Grizzlies continued to keep the Eagles on their back-foot defensively and were rewarded in the 24th minute. Elma didn’t completely clear out a dangerous Brenner Carlstrom throw-in into the penalty area and Mazariegos collected the ball just outside the area on the right side.
The senior defender side-stepped one Elma defender to clear space and he ripped a hard, low shot that beat Davis to the low left corner for the goal and a 1-0 Hoquiam lead.
“We told the guys at halftime that we have to put away those (penalty kick) chances,” Sanchez said. “(Angel’s shot) was a really nice shot. One dribble and bang. He’s a defender. Those are the kind of things we need from the guys. If we can’t get goals, we need guys to step up and get them. Angel did that.”
Hermenegildo again found himself in the right spot to give Elma the lead back in the 60th minute. Hoquiam had four defenders try to clear out a Donovan Bieker throw-in, but the ball found Hermenegildo, who slotted the shot past Malone for the marker.
Elma wore down Hoquiam’s defense, spreading the field to open up lanes to threaten Malone. Bieker’s throw-ins were potent firestarters for the Eagles. The Grizzlies did have chances, with PugaDeLaRosa, Osiel Rivera, Justin Yi and Salguero each getting at least one attempt on Davis and the Elma goal.
The Eagles had three yellow cards issued to them in the contest — Julian Hernandez and Persell in the first half and Bieker in the second half — and both teams combined for 26 fouls called.
Persell took advantage of another Bieker throw-in when he collected the ball right in front of Malone and beat him for the final goal in the 77th minute. Two Hoquiam defenders misplayed the ball, allowing Persell the time and opportunity to shoot.
On Tuesday, both teams are back in action — Elma hosts Tenino and Hoquiam hosts Montesano.