By Ian Ferguson
The Blaine girls soccer team put forth a rock-solid effort in their season opener at home, ending up in a 3–3 tie with Sultan.
“The entire team showed up to play,” said Blaine head coach Kelly Tuski. “Every position was working together, communicating and anticipating the play, which is what we’ve been working on since the start of the preseason.”
The Borderites came out strong, breaking the ice three minutes in when Ashley Quesada launched a set-piece kick off the crossbar and Maria Gobbato scored on the rebound. Sultan netted its first goal with an open field shot in the eighth minute, but the Borderites answered right away when Quesada scored off an assist from Kailee Sharp. The first half continued with back-and-forth possession in the midfield and few shots on goal until Sultan tied the game with their second goal in the 33rd minute.
The second half began with Blaine maintaining possession and missing a couple of close shooting opportunities. Sultan capitalized on a long goal kick that led to a breakaway, putting away a shot from inside the 18 to go ahead 3–2 in the 57th minute.
Unwilling to accept a loss, the Borderites rallied late in the game and dominated possession deep in Sultan territory. Eventually, their tenacity paid off when Ayana Holguin drew a last-line defender and passed on to Ariyana VanderVeen, who slid to kick the ball past the goalkeeper. The game-tying goal came in the 73rd minute.
Borderite junior Allison Burke had a number of saves in her first varsity start.
“She really stepped it up in net,” Tuski said. “She showed lots of leadership and communicated well to defenders.”
The Borderites will next travel to Mount Baker on Thursday, September 10. Tuski said the team will continue to work on the fundamentals of the game to prepare for the game.
“We definitely have a lot to work on but based on today’s performance I would say we have a good foundation,” she said.
The Mount Baker game begins at 4:30 p.m.