By Oliver Lazenby
The Blaine boys’ varsity soccer team is off to a strong start, with a chemistry and confidence that players say they haven’t felt in previous years.
The Borderites beat Ferndale High School 3–0 in the conference opener on March 21, with Alieu Diaw and Evan Potter scoring goals.
The team played a disciplined passing game and found a lot of solid scoring chances. Eight minutes in, Colton Economy made a long pass to Diaw, whose low shot gave the Borderites a 1–0 lead. Economy got another assist to freshman Evan Potter in the 20th minute, and Potter scored again in the 70th on a cross from Liam Lyons.
“Liam made a really good run and beat a couple guys and then cut it back to me and I just followed his lead,” Potter said.
Potter is one of three talented freshmen on the varsity team, along with Miguel Magallon and Ethan Froneberger. Those freshmen have changed the team’s dynamic for the better, Diaw said.
“They’ve given our team that boost we need,” he said. “This year our mentality has totally changed. We’re playing for each other now.”
Blaine earned a 2–2 overall record with the win over Ferndale. Blaine opened its season by beating Mount Baker High School 6–1 in a non-conference game.
“Last year we won one game, and now we’ve already won more than that,” said Economy, a senior. “It’s the beginning of the season so that just shows you were here to stay.”
Economy has played for Blaine for four years, through some difficult seasons.
“Last year, from the frustration of losing all the time, some people on the team didn’t like each other,” Economy said. “I haven’t felt the family bond like this since my freshman year.”
Head coach Quesada agreed, saying this is a different team thanks to its teamwork and
“It’s a different confidence. I think the chemistry between the older kids and the new kids is different,” Quesada said.
The Borderites are relatively experienced, with six seniors. Quesada did have to replace goalkeeper Matthew Wheaton, who graduated last year. Anthony Persse has stepped in to do that job and he’s doing well, with opponents averaging 1.75 goals against him so far.
“Matthew brought a lot of talent to this program,” Quesada said. “Anthony stepped up. Every game he’s more mature; every game he has way more confidence.”
The Borderites next game is at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 23, at home against Sehome.