by Ian Ferguson
The Blaine girls soccer team fought hard against a top-tier team from Bellingham, but lost the Northwest Conference (NWC) game at home.
The Borderites lost 5–0 in their third shutout in a row. Those three shutouts came against Squalicum, Meridian and Bellingham, the first-, second- and third-place teams in the NWC rankings respectively. Both Squalicum and Meridian remain undefeated this season.
In the home game against Bellingham October 2, Blaine played decently in the first half. Bellingham’s attack was visibly more organized, but Blaine’s defense did a good job weathering the storm. Playing in a sweeper/stopper position, Ashley Quesada routinely broke up plays in the backfield, and goalkeeper Tessa Kelly did a great job coming off the line and calling out to grab dangerous through balls in her zone.
Blaine’s offense was sporadic, as the swarming Bellingham defense prevented more than a few passes in their half of the field. Blaine occasionally broke forward on long balls to the corners, but couldn’t build up to any well-placed shots on net. The Borderites escaped the first half down by two goals.
In the second half, Blaine locked in on defense at first and refused a barrage of shots on goal, with Kelly making several great saves. However, as the game wore on, Bellingham’s organized passing began to pay off. The Red Raiders were able to conserve energy by running far less than the Borderites, and Blaine’s defense began to break down. Bellingham scored three goals midway through the second half.
Despite a continuous onslaught from the Red Raiders attack, the Borderite defense refused to give in and held Bellingham to five points. Kelly ended the game with 17 saves. Blaine had two shots on net in the game.
The Borderites have a chance for redemption against Mount Baker in their next game. Blaine and Mount Baker played to a tie earlier in the season, and both teams are 0–6 in NWC standings. The Borderites will travel to Mount Baker on Thursday, October 9. The game begins at 4:30 p.m.