Port Angeles’ Matthew Miller, left, takes control of the ball ahead of East Jefferson’s Zephyr Bell on Saturday at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Port Angeles’ Matthew Miller, left, takes control of the ball ahead of East Jefferson’s Zephyr Bell on Saturday at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

BOYS SOCCER: Young Port Angeles squad hangs on for win over Rivals

Two late East Jefferson scores make game tight at the end

PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles boys soccer team fielded a team of nearly all sophomores and freshmen in the Roughriders’ season-opener, holding off a late comeback from East Jefferson to hang on for a 3-2 victory at Wally Sigmar field.

Matthew Miller, sporting a pair of bloody knees and having just had a cast removed from his broken wrist, led the Riders with a pair of goals and an assist. He nearly had three or four goals.

“It was a cool way to start the year,” Miller said.

Despite being a sophomore, Miller is one of the veterans of the team and was named team captain.

“It’s a weird feeling being a captain as a sophomore,” he said.

Port Angeles’ Jacob Weaver, top, takes the header over the top of East Jefferson’s Aimando Sanchez, front, and teammate Kanyon Anderson on Saturday afternoon in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

Port Angeles’ Jacob Weaver, top, takes the header over the top of East Jefferson’s Aimando Sanchez, front, and teammate Kanyon Anderson on Saturday afternoon in Port Angeles. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

“Everyone that suited up varsity got to play in the game and the seven different freshmen that played all contributed to the win in their own way,” said Port Angeles coach Chris Saari.

“We’ll take the three points. It’s good for our RPI,” Saari said.

Miller got his first goal from the far left side of the field in the 32nd minute, tucking the ball into the far post off the outside of his right foot. Jacob Weaver got the assist on a long pass setting Miller up.

That was the only scoring of the first half.

Miller nearly had a goal on a corner kick from Weaver in the third minute. He hit a perfect header off the corner that was corralled by Rivals’ keeper Emilio Lopez, who made a couple of pretty diving saves in the match to keep East Jefferson close.

East Jefferson’s Eduardo Martinez had a golden opportunity in the 19th minute as the Rivals had the Port Angeles defenders and goalkeeper out of position, leaving the net wide open. Martinez’s shot from 20 yards out went just over the crossbar, however, as the Riders dodged a bullet.

East Jefferson’s Rene Martin was a threat all game long. He had a couple of near goals in the second half on shots similar to Miller’s goal, aiming for the far post both times. Both times, the ball went barely wide.

The game remained at 1-0 deep into the second half when a flurry of goals lit up the match as light sprinkles turned into an absolute cloudburst for the final minutes of the match. In the 60th minute, the Riders got a break when a hand ball was called against East Jefferson in the penalty area. Miller converted the penalty kick to make it 2-0.

Four minutes later, the Riders picked up a controversial goal when Miller made a quick free kick to Kanyon Anderson, who got past the East Jefferson defenders and banged the ball in to make it 3-0 for his first high school goal. East Jefferson felt the ball was still moving before Miller made his quick kick.

In the 67th minute, East Jefferson caught a break itself when a handball was called in the Riders’ penalty box. Martinez converted the penalty shot to make it 3-1.

In the 71st minute, it appeared that Miller had scored a hat trick on a perfect free kick pass from Weaver, but he was ruled offsides and his goal was nullified.

East Jefferson’s Simon Barlow scored a goal in the 77th minute on a perfect shot with a direct free kick from 30 yards out. Suddenly, the Riders’ 3-0 lead was cut to 3-2. Barlow had a great chance for an equalizer in stoppage time, but Port Angeles goalkeeper Jordan Saluskin, the third keeper of the game for the Riders, made a diving stop to deny him.

Saari named Miller the offensive player of the match, Grant Butterworth the defensive player of the match and Weaver and Anderson the transitional players of the match.

Port Angeles (1-0) opens up Olympic League play at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday against Kingston at Peninsula College.

East Jefferson (0-1) also opens up Nisqually League on Tuesday, hosting Annie Wright at Port Townsend Memorial Field at 5:30 p.m.

East Jefferson’s Eduardo Martinez, left, fends off Port Angeles’ Caleb Lagrange on Saturday afternoon at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

East Jefferson’s Eduardo Martinez, left, fends off Port Angeles’ Caleb Lagrange on Saturday afternoon at Peninsula College. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula News)

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