Soccer upsets Lynden Christian in first win of season

Maya Ball drives  toward the goal in a game against Meridian on Friday, October 13.    

Maya Ball drives toward the goal in a game against Meridian on Friday, October 13. Photo by Oliver Lazenby

By Oliver Lazenby

Blaine girls varsity soccer won its first game of the season against Lynden Christian on Tuesday, October 17, and new head coach Gio Quesada sees small successes starting to build for the team.

“The girls were working for that all year,” Quesada said. “After Montanna’s goal you could see how excited everyone was.”

Montanna Klander scored Blaine’s goal early in the first half. After the 1–0 win, the Borderites record is 1-11-1. Lynden Christian is near the top of the conference, with an 8-4-3 record.

Quesada, who also coaches the boys’ team, took over as the girls varsity coach this year and he and assistant coach Gerry Wheaton are thinking long term for the girls program, Quesada said.

Throughout the season, the two have seen incremental success in ways that haven’t shown up on the scoreboard until now; players are thinking about space on the field, how plays develop and how to be in the right place at the right time. They’re playing with more composure, more communication and more passing, Quesada said.

“For me and the assistant coach we see day-to-day how the girls improve in the touch, improve on the tactical and the technical. That’s part of success,” Quesada said last Friday after a 5–1 loss to Meridian.

 

In that game, Blaine gave up two goals in the first two minutes and couldn’t recover, despite what Wheaton called “moments of glory.”

Assistant coach Wheaton also came over from the boys team to help Quesada. Wheaton started coaching the boys in 2015, when he had two sons on the team. Coaching the girls is a commitment he was initially hesitant to make.

“The satisfaction for me has just been seeing them learn the game and learning to think the game,” Wheaton said. “And the girls are more coachable than the guys. They listen and they try to implement what you’re
telling them.”

Sky Nolasco scored Blaine’s goal against Meridian on a sliding rebound late in the second half.

“It bounced off one of the other players and I just slid and shot it in with my left. It was one touch,” Nolasco said. “Usually you don’t do that, but this time it worked out.”

Nolasco’s goal was one of several moments of glory in that game, Wheaton said. Others include goalkeeper Tessa Kelly blocking a penalty kick, strong drives and playmaking by the team’s midfielders, and some inexperienced defenders making stops against experienced players from
Meridian.

“Those little moments build the program,” Wheaton said. “To see the team lose and come back the next day and practice hard? That’s success for us.”

 

Blaine has lost several close games this season, and the win against a tough opponent should fuel the team for its final two games of the season.

Blaine plays next at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 19 at Burlington-Edison.

Blaine’s Sky Nolasco breaks for the goal against Meridian on October 13. Photo by Oliver Lazenby.

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