By Ian Ferguson
The Blaine boys soccer team, undercut by injuries and spring break vacations, is struggling to win conference games.
The Borderites traveled to Vashon Island and won a non-conference game 4–2 on April 4, but then lost to Nooksack Valley 4–1 in a Northwest Conference game two days later. The team is 0–5–0 in conference and 3–6–0 overall.
Head coach Gio Quesada said the limited bench has affected the team’s ability to stay strong through the second half, but the talent of the younger players has kept the team afloat.
“We’ve brought in four or five JV players and the younger guys have really stepped up in the last few games,” Quesada said. “For being a really green team and playing with no bench, we’ve played well.”
In the Vashon Island game April 4, senior Konner Van Rijswijck led the team with two goals in the first half. Senior defender Aaron Johannesson also scored in the first half, and sophomore Kyle Sentkowski scored late in the second half. Blaine keeper Tristan Soto made 15 saves.
“It was a really physical game. Our guys did a good job matching the intensity of the Vashon Island players,” Quesada said.
Three players missed the Vashon Island game with injuries, and another four were on spring break. The team was similarly understaffed against Nooksack Valley April 6. The Pioneers, 3–2 in league games, surged in the second half to break a 1–1 tie and overpower the Borderites.
Play was even throughout the first half. Nooksack Valley put the first goal on the board 18 minutes in. Blaine freshman Saul Magallon answered three minutes later off a cross from fellow freshman Liam Lyons.
“Saul dribbled by one guy and scored. It was great to see a goal with two freshmen playing forward,” Quesada said.
In the second half, “a lot of our players got tired,” Quesada said. The Pioneers scored back-to-back goals midway through the half and a late goal to end the game 4–1.
“Our communication was good throughout the game, especially from our seniors who really supported the younger guys,” Quesada said.
The team has a weeklong break before they head to Mount Baker on Thursday, April 16. The game begins at 4:30 p.m.