By Neil Macdonald
Blaine tough in sudden death quarterfinal; not victorious
Meridian defeated Blaine 1-0 on November 15 at Civic Stadium in a sudden-death State 2A girls soccer quarterfinal that was about as good as the game gets in chilly weather, on artificial turf and at the high school level.
It was an awesome game, Blaine coach Dan Steelquist enthused, Im proud of every one of our players. This was a great high school game.
The match was as close to an encounter of equals as possible, Blaine getting the edge in the first half; Meridian, in the second. The two teams, 1-1 in regular season play, spent the evening showing how little the degree of separation was between them.
The Lady Bs gave the Lady T keeper trouble on several instances in the first half. A shot by Andrea Harmening was mishandled into a corner kick and a shot by Linsey Taylor almost went in before the Meridian keeper got it under control. Blaine got five corners in the first half, but were unable to score.
Ironically, the Lady T goal that sent Meridian into the state semi-finals and ended Blaines season, came off a corner. It was everything a soccer enthusiast could ask for in a crucial contest like a sudden-death quarterfinal.
Katie Johnson, the usual suspect when Trojan goals are scored, headed a perfectly placed corner from sister Jennifer into the upper left corner of the Lady B net halfway through the second half. It took less time than a wink, a bit longer than a blink and was a thing of beauty.
Katie might have scored the winner two minutes earlier when a mix-up in front of the Blaine net caught Lady B keeper Shela Robertson a step or two off the goal line. Johnsons shot sailed over Robertsons head and off the Bs left post. But such a goal wouldnt have been fitting for this match.
Prior to the Meridian match, Blaine played five of six straight games that were not settled in regulation time. The skein started with a 3-2 regular season shootout win over Mt. Baker. After winning their next game in regulation time, the Lady Bs took a 2-1 shootout from MB in a NCC playoff game. Sultan then topped Blaine 2-1 in OT. But the Lady Bs rebounded, edging South Whidbey 1-0 for another shootout win.
Then came November 13 and the State opener at Sumner against Eatonville Cruisers, who seemed to have more guns than a battleship. But the Cruiser firepower was up against Blaines steel curtain of midfielders Kristina Francis and Lacey Taylor, defenders Lori Robertson, Linsey Taylor and Nicole Riddle. This quintet put the border in Borderite, repelling the Lady Cs time and time again.
When the Cruisers did get a shot on goal, the ball instantly became the property of Shela Robertson, who posted her 10th shutout in 20 games as the Bs and Cs played a scoreless tie through regulation time and two OTs.
Taylor, Kimberly Harmening and Francis scored in the shootout. Two Cruisers scored, one shot went astray and Shutout Shela, D.B.A. as The Shield, made two saves, sending Blaine into the Meridian match.
wins three Blaine V-ball awards
Borderite Jessica Freeman was named the co-winner of two 2002 Blaine volleyball team awards the Most Valuable Player and Most Inspirational Player and sole winner of the Leadership award on November 18.
Freeman, a junior setter/server, shared the Most Valuable award with junior middle hitter Jessica Summers and the Most Inspirational award with sophomore outside hitter Alisa Burk.
Sophomore hitter/passer Jessica Carrington was the Most Improved Player award winner.
Freeman, who led the Lady Bs in assists game after game, getting 57 assists in one game, and Summers, who contributed a cemetery of kills to the Lady B attack, lettered for the third time in V-ball. Burk, junior Carly Hubbard, sophomore Jen Kramer and junior Amanda Stull were second-time letter recipients. Carrington and team manager Jessica McNutt received their first V-Ball letters.
The JV Most Improved award went to freshman Jacklyn McDonald and the JV Leadership award was won by sophomore setter Lora Broyan. Freshman passer Marisa Mooney took the C Squads Most Improved Player award.