Lady Bs in NCC soccer playoffs
Blaine split a pair of North Cascade Conference girls soccer games, edging by Lakewood 2-1 on October 16 in Cougar country and being edged by Lynden Christian 1-0 in double overtime on October 18 at the Pipe.
Borderite sophomore forward Kimberly Harmening opened the scoring at Lakewood, relaying a free kick from freshman Lady B defender Lori Robertson into the Cougar net at 31 minutes of the first half. Krista Jones, another Blaine sophomore of the goal gathering kind, turned a pass from Anna Sticklin into the Lady Bs second goal in the second half, sending the ball for a 25-yard excursion into the rear of the Lakewood net at the 59 minute mark.
The Cougars Jessica Steinborn got one back for the Cougs a minute later, scoring on a free kick at 60 minutes. Blaines defense defused any further Lakewood offensive ambitions.
The Lynden C contest was a bit of an upset as the 5-9 Lyncs sophomore forward Lia VanderPol scored the games lone goal against the 11-4 Borderites in a game that went into second overtime. LC junior keeper Samantha Kooi made 17 saves to get the shutout.
The two games were typical of the Lady Bs season close and low scoring. Blaine has scored close to three goals per game (42 in 15 matches for an average of 2.8) and has let in less than a goal per game (14 in 15 matches for an average of 0.93). Take away 8-2 and 12-0 wins over Granite Falls (winless in 13 starts) and the Blaine goals for-goals against averages per game come to 1.7 for 0.92 against. Five of the teams 15 games have been decided by one goal; eight by two tallies. Thats classic soccer from Man U to River Plate, Italia to Brasil.
The Lady Bs finish the regular season against league-leading Meridian on October 23 while TNL is at press. Depending on the games out-come and how Sultan fares, the Lady Bs will finish second or third.
The top six teams in the NCC qualify for conference playoffs with October 25 reserved for tie-breakers. The schedule goes:
October 27 Game 1: NCC 5 vs. NCC 4 (loser out); Game 2: NCC 6 vs. NCC 3 (loser out). October 30 Game 3: Winner Game 1 vs. NCC 1 (winner to State); Game 4: Winner Game 2 vs. NCC 2 (winner to State). November 3 Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. loser Game 4 (winner to State); Game 6 Winner Game 3 vs. Winner 4 for District title (both go to State). What could be more complicated than that?.
Blaine Vies for District Spot
Blaine plays Mt. Baker at 7 p.m. on October 25 at the Big Orange in the most important volleyball game of the 2001 North Cascades Conference season for the Borderites and Mountaineers. The Lady Bs and Lady Ms go into the regular seasons final week tied for sixth place in NCC standings, the last qualifying place for the NCC District tournament.
Blaines playoff hopes came to the fore with a pair of Borderite wins over Lakewood and Sultan. The Lady Bs defeated Lakewood 15-2, 12-15, 15-8, 15-10 for a 3-1 victory on October 16. Kristina Beljean had four service aces and Jessica Freeman served a perfect game for the Lady Bs. Amber Rucker contributed an ace and a fine serving performance.
Jessica Summers and Becky Riddle got nine kills each and sophomore Alisa Burke came off the bench to serve a perfect game in Blaines 3-0 win (15-4, 15-4, 15-8) over Sultan on October 18. Amanda Stull added an ace and hit a perfect game for the Lady Bs.
South Whidbeys 3-0 win over Mt. Baker on October 18 turned the routine meeting of MB and Blaine on October 25 into a game of tie-breaking proportion. The game pits the offensively dominated Borderites against the quick, balanced Baker bunch. Should be an entertaining evening of digs, stuffs and kills.
The top six teams advance to the NCC district tourney in Sultan on November 3 with the top three survivors going on to State in Yakima.
Blaines Scott Bianchi, who won in singles, and Grant Sanders, who finished second, and doubles combo of Jake Hamburg and C.J. Stauffer, second in doubles, qualified for the 2A Bi-District tournament in the 2A Sub-District tourney at South Whidbey on October 17.
Bianchi topped South Whidbeys Tim Klopfenstein 6-1, 6-0 and Sanders stopped SWs George Spivakov 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the singles competition. Bianchi defeated Sanders 6-2, 6-3 to win the singles title in the Sub-District tournament.
Hamburg and Stauffer placed second in doubles, beating SWs Dustin Sidhu and Bill Schneeman 6-3, 6-4 in round one, then losing 3-6, 3-6 to Whidbeys Brian Wilson and Mike Berry.
Walcon Second, Coulter Third
Defending champion and Blaine junior Grace Coulter, burdened by a lingering sinus infection, ran a 19:43 5K (3.1 miles) to place third in the 2A girls division of the NCC Conference run at Skagit Valley Colleges cross country course in Mt. Vernon on October 19.
Borderite senior Alden Walcon was second in the 2A boys division with a 17:03 timing. .