Sports -- November 01, 2001

Published on Thu, Nov 1, 2001
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SPORTS

Girls advance to district in v-ball
Displaying enough energy to satisfy America’s needs for decades, Sherie Schroeder’s Lady B’s defeated Mt. Baker 15-6, 15-13, 15-9 at Blaine on October 25 to advance to the 2A district tournament (November 3 at Sultan) for the first time and conclude their best North Cascades Conference season in three years.
The Lady B’s, all elan and effort, literally jumped into a 5-0 lead in the first game before Mt. Baker erupted to tie things with a 5-zip string of their own. MB’s Megan Wright got the tying point, sending the ball into the floor in front of a diving Kristina Beljean who came fingertip close to keeping the ball in play.
Blaine instantly switched to mach 2 or 3 mode, outscoring MB 11-1 for the 15-6 win. The 11-1 Lady B streak saw Jess Summers cast a bolt of lightning masquerading as a volleyball into a tiny patch of unoccupied MB floor space to regain service with the Lady B’s ahead, 11-5.
Blaine’s 14th point blended the impressionism of Degas’ Prima Ballerina with the realism of Courbet’s The Stone Breakers as Freeman tipped a desperate dig up into a low set position and Amber Rucker flicked the ball over the net for a Lady B beauty.
In game two, Baker surged into a 12-6 lead before Blaine’s Alisa Burk and friends rallied to close the gap to 12-11. MB got theserve back, moved into a 13-11 lead and appeared poised to get two points before Blaine could get four. But appearances can be deceiving. Summers slammed the ball off a MB defender, vainly trying to block a bullet, to get serving advantage back to Blaine. The Lady B’s tucked away the four points they needed for the 15-13 win in an adrenaline-drenched surge of scoring.
Blaine’s high octane effort extended throughout their 15-9 third game victory. Summers continued to try and embed the ball in the Baker side of the floor and her Lady B mates put the V for Victory in this V-ball showdown.
Becky Riddle, who played an outstanding game, spent as much time in the air as on the floor, leading Blaine with 13 kills. Summers, playing like a V-ball version of Wayne Gretsky, got 23 assists. Alisha Burk went 14-for-17, including an ace, and Kristina Beljean was 10-of-12 serving.

Blaine wins district opener
Third-place Blaine edged sixth-place Mt. Baker 1-0 in an exciting 2A North Cascades Conference sudden-life, instant-death Team 3 vs. 6 girls soccer playoff on October 27 at the Pipe.
The win sent the Lady B’s to Sultan for an October 30 encounter with the Turks, who finished second in the NCC, in the two losses and out phase of the NCC playoffs. Fourth-place South Whidbey, who beat fifth-place Nooksack Valley 3-1 in a shootout, play first-place Meridian in the other October 30 playoff. The winners play for the NCC District title and go to State, the losers play on November 3 for the final NCC spot at State.
Blaine sophomore forward Krista Jones got the winning goal in the Baker imbroglio, taking a pass from fellow-soph Kimberly Harmening and placing the ball in the Mt. Baker net.
The game, played with the white-hot intensity of youth, featured a remarkable cascade of spectacular plays. Besides the defender-baffling ball-handling of Ainsley Nix and Kate Lawrenson, there was the goalkeeping of Borderite Shela Robertson, who picked up her sixth shutout of the season. Robertson made the play au jour in the second half, rejecting a goal-seeking MB missile with a sensational sprawling save.
There was Nix just missing an insurance goal for Blaine with a shot that skimmed the outside edge of the MB left post. There was Lori Robertson hitting the Baker crossbar and MB keeper picking off a close-in effort by Kimberly Harmening with 12 minutes left. And there were those often forgotten little gems like Ashlee Oldaker’s great sliding tackle that tipped the ball away from a Baker forward heading goalward with serious intent to score.
Blaine ended the regular NCC season with an 11-5 record and third place, dropping a 2-1 decision to conference-winning Meridian (15-1) on October 23 at Laurel.
The Trojans took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Jennifer Johnson off a free kick 20 minutes into the first half. Nix got Blaine back in the game with a goal in the second half, but the fickle feet of fate got the winning goal for Meridian when Blaine suffered an own goal while trying to clear the ball from in front of the Borderite net.
Keeper Robertson’s exceptional play kept the Lady B’s in contention throughout the game.
“It was a mental boost for us,” coach Dan Steelquist explained, “A very good game.” Dan’s right. When you’re edged 2-1 by the league’s top team on a goal off a free kick and an own goal, you’ve shown you’re a soccer side of significance. .Back to Top

Blaine runners head for state
Alden Walcon covered Skagit Valley College’s 5K (3.1 miles) double loop course in 17:05 to come second in the 2A District cross country championships on October 26 to record the highest ever finish by a Blaine male and qualify for State for the second straight year.
Grace Coulter, still recovering from a long bout with a respiratory ailment, was third in the girls section of District, crossing the tape in 19:25, 18 seconds better than the 19:43 she ran to finish third on October 18 in the NCC Conference at the same Skagit Valley course. Coulter, second at State in 1999 and 2000, should be competitive again this year at State when the crème de la cross country striders gather on November 3 in Pasco.
Blaine’s Dan Marchio made a courageous bid to make the passage to Pasco, running a personal best of 17:56 to finish 19th. Unfortunately only the top 15 qualify.
Borderite Dan Balmer garnered 30th in 19:11. Garrett Highley was 52nd in 20:37; Ken Cunningham, 57th in 22:31 and Matt Ashmore, 59th in 22:46 for Blaine boys.
Vangie Gorsuch was 30th in 24:00 and Esther Gorsuch, 52nd in 28:52 for the Borderite girls.

Injury plagues football team
Although injury-ridden and roster thin, Blaine (3-4 NCC, 4-4 overall) can salvage a .500 North Cascades Conference football season by defeating Sultan (3-4 NCC, 2-5 overall) in Turk territory on November 2.
The B’s and T’s, tied for fifth in the NCC, have wins over Lakewood, South Whidbey and Granite Falls. A win would be a morale booster for either team. If Sultan wins, they tie Blaine for fifth spot. If Blaine wins, they get that .500 NCC and .555 overall season.
As the Bard might have said, the stings and arrows of outrageous misfortune have haunted Blaine since their NCC opener on September 14 when Matt Timothy went down with a hip injury. The rest is history.
By October 26, the short bench Borderites could only suit 22 Borderites against league-leading, undefeated, state-ranked Lynden Christian (7-0 NCC, 8-0). Timothy was back, but fellow running back Zeth Simpson, representing 964 total yards and 7.2 yards a carry, was out.
Able to substitute at will, LC could platoon players with ease, have a fresh-legged running back in the backfield possession after possession, and do all the things a long bench allows. The inevitable result saw LC defeat Blaine 35-0 on a mud-mired Lyncs field.
Winning is sometimes easy, losing never is. The Borderites deserve respect of the royal kind. Down 35-0 at the half, the Double B’s played LC to a 0-0 second half. They played hard for four Q’s. That’s character, courage and most commendable.
We better tip our hats to Granite Falls, who with one win in the past three seasons, fought hard despite being both pass and run fodder for Blaine at Borderite Field on October 19 as the B’s beat the T’s 27-7.

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