Blaine offense lets loose to secure playoff spot

Blaine head coach Gio Quesada, l., addresses Borderites seniors and parents after the Lakewood game, which was senior night for Blaine.

By Oliver Lazenby

After a five-game losing streak, Blaine boys varsity soccer turned it around in its final three games, tying one and winning two, including a high stakes final game of the season against Lakewood on Monday, May 1. Blaine’s offense took five times as many shots as Lakewood in the 5–0 senior night victory, earning the Borderites a spot in the district playoffs, which started on May 3.

“It feels incredible to make it to districts,” senior Kyle Sentkowski said. “Especially since we’ve had a few rough seasons.”

It’s Blaine’s first trip to the playoffs since 2014, when the team made it all the way to the state tournament.

Head coach Gio Quesada praised the team’s disciplined passing game against Lakewood, which created a lot of scoring opportunities for Blaine. That’s something the team has been working on all season, but it doesn’t always come together, he said.

It did on Monday.

Kyle Sentkowski, l., and Alieu Diaw celebrate after Sentkowski scored on a free kick in the 50th minute against Lakewood.

Alieu Diaw started the scoring off with a goal in the 21st minute. Liam Lyons scored in the 39th minute on a rebound from Miguel Magallon, whose shot bounced off the post, drawing the goalie into a dive. Lyons scored again in the 47th minute on an assist from Jorge Magallon.

Sentkowski scored in the 50th minute on a free kick from outside the penalty box that seared through a wall of defenders. Sentkowski, who plans to kick for a college football team next year, placed the shot low and in the corner.

“I have a pretty big kick and Gio has been working with me on putting it in the corners, not over the net like on Friday nights,” Sentkowski said.

In the 69th minute, freshman Evan Potter received a cross from Bryce Kamrath and put it in the net for Blaine’s final goal.

Quesada, typically a competitive coach, wasn’t feeling much pressure before Blaine’s playoff game.

Alieu Diaw, l., and Liam Lyons celebrate after Lyons’ goal in the 47th minute.

“Nobody expects Blaine to go into the next round. I think the pressure is more on the other team,” he said. “So I tell them, let’s go enjoy the game, let’s give it 100 percent and have fun. Nothing happens if you don’t have fun.”

Blaine played its first playoff game at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 3, against Cedarcrest High School in Duvall. Cedarcrest’s regular season record in conference games was 9–2–1, compared to Blaine’s 4–7–2. But that doesn’t matter in the playoffs.

“I know if our team plays to our potential we can beat any team,” senior Colton Economy said. “In playoffs, that’s what it is – if you play a good game you keep going.”

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