Sports -- October 16, 2003

Published on Thu, Oct 16, 2003
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SPORTS
by Jack Kintner

Soccer defeats Sultan, football loses to Mt. Baker

Blaine took sole possession of second place with a 1-nil victory over Sultan last Tuesday at the Pipe on Andrea Harmening�s first-period unassisted goal. She received a throw-in from near the midfield line and ran straight for the Sultan goal. She was marked like a shadow by a Sultan defender who tried to tackle the ball, but by that time Harmening was five yards in the clear and snapped the ball in from six yards.

She scored her game winner goal over the desperate lunge of Sultan keeper Molly Sumpter, a sophomore who replaced the graduated Molly Kramer, one of just three girls who are gone from last year�s state championship team.

�This is big,� said a smiling coach Dan Steelquist, pleased with the play of his girls against a team whose skills are honed from age five in the Sky River soccer club. �We picked it up a lot from our last game, and needed to because Sultan is a really good team. But they were up for it.�

After their third season loss at Nooksack a week ago today, the Blaine girls were looking at one of the bigger challenges to face them this season, playing the defending state champs with only two days to prepare.

Seniors Jenna Makalai and Kimberly Harmening both said that the squad used their practices to focus and intensify their game. �Our work rate definitely went up,� said Harmening, �and it needed to after the Nooksack game.�

The two teams last met in the third game of the season, and Sultan came away with a 2-nil victory, one of the goals coming on a corner kick.

�Set plays are always tough,� Steelquist continued, �and in the past we�ve had some trouble with quick returns, when we have to quickly transition to defense, and Sultan knows this. But today our defense was tough, especially Shela Robertson in goal. She really stepped up.�

Robertson's focus and determination in going after any ball within reach resulted in one of Sultan�s only chances in the second half, when Blaine seemed to be playing stronger as time went on. She went after a ball that was about to be headed into the goal but hit the Sultan forward on the shoulder in doing so and was called for a foul inside the penalty area. The ensuing penalty kick sailed high over the crossbar.

Senior forward Krista Jones, still sidelined by a severe ankle sprain, hopes to get Dr. David Allan�s clearance to play today or early next week but until she does her status is still uncertain. Blaine hosts Lakewood tonight at 4 p.m. and then league leading South Whidbey next Tuesday at the same time, both games to be played at the Pipe.

Football sees 76-0 loss
Mount Baker scored on all 11 possessions as Blaine lost an away game 76 to 0. Blaine junior Bryan Galbraith took over at quarterback in the second half, engineering an 18-play drive that ended with a Blaine fumble on the Mount Baker 13 yardline. Blaine played without starting sophomore running backs Mike Poitras (broken leg) and Mark Anello (knee injury).

Volleyball team takes second in invitational tournament

The Blaine girls had two great outings over last weekend, beating fourth-ranked Nooksack 3-2 after dropping the first two games and then finishing second in the Mt. Baker invitational tourney on Saturday. Tuesday night they notched their second league victory in as many contests beating a tenacious Lakewood, also 3-2.

At Nooksack last week, Blaine scored a huge upset. It began as have so many of their previous matches as the Borderites dropped a long first game 29-31, and the second 21-25, before winning the third and fourth 25-21 and 25-23. In the final Blaine won by three, 15-12.

�That first game seemed to last forever,� said Blaine head coach Muriel Ridnour, �but it was the first win in league this year, and to be down two games then come back to win the next three was huge.�

Jess Freeman had 35 assists, Jessica Summers had 22 kills and five aces, and Jen Kramer had 11 kills and three aces.

In the Mt. Baker invitational, Blaine�s four-team pool included Seattle�s Chief Sealth, Granite Falls and triple-A Squalicum. They won the pool competition, then beat Sedro Woolley to advance to the tournament finals against host Mt. Baker.

Ridnour singled out Amanda Stull, senior outside hitter, for outstanding play in the tournament. �Although the stats don�t show all she did, she has improved her game and was consistent. She did a great job covering and hitting when she had the chance,� said Ridnour.

Jess Freeman logged 53 assists, five kills, nine aces; Alisa Burk had 11 kills and two aces; Jessica Summers got 48 kills and 10 aces; Amanda Stull had six kills and three aces; Jen Kramer got 18 kills and five aces.

This last Tuesday Blaine brought another league win on the road to move up to a 2-2 league record, 4-6 overall. As with the Nooksack game last week, the Lakewood match went to five games and Blaine eventually put Lakewood away 21-25, 25-22, 23-25, 25-21, 11-15. Jess Freeman had 31 assists, Jessica Summers had an ace and 16 kills, Amanda Stull had five kills, Jen Kramer had eight kills, and both Jessica Carrington and Krissie Hammer got an ace.

Stretch to become a vandal

Blaine senior Jessica Summers has made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Idaho in the fall after being recruited by colleges and universities all over the country.

The six-foot-one-inch all-state center said that a primary factor was that she didn�t want to be too far from home but still wanted to play in a quality division 1-A program.

�I want to be far enough from home to be kind of independent, but close enough to drive home for Thanksgiving in one day,� said Summers with her characteristic grin, adding that letters from places like Brown and Columbia �got tossed out. That�s too far away.�

At Idaho, where former Lewis & Clark State College coach Mike Divilbiss took over in 2001, Summers figures to begin playing varsity ball right away with some impressive players recruited last year, including first team all-state guard AnnMarie Summerhays from California and Eisenhower (Yakima) high school�s power forward Karly Felton.

Blaine coach Patrick Green said that she�s joining a team that�s �on their way� with Devilbiss. �He turned Lewis & Clark State into a perennial power,� Green said, �and he�s doing the same thing now with Idaho.�

Summers was twice North Cascades Conference player of the year in addition to her all-state selection at center last year. She connected with the Idaho program through Blaine P.E. teacher and former boys� basketball coach Rob Ridnour, who knows Divilbiss and who also knew that he needed a post player. Summers reacted positively to the setting and the rest of the team on a campus visit a month ago and made her commitment last Sunday. Summers plans to major in elementary education.

Idaho, previously a part of the old Big Sky conference, has one year left in the Big West conference before joining a league that will have them playing coat-to-coast. �And we go to Hawaii my freshman year,� she said with a smile. �I can't wait!�

Slivers from the bench

Luke�s good to go
Rookie guard Luke Ridnour was cleared by Seattle team doctors Tuesday for full-contact scrimmage. The Sonics exhibition season continues with games in Spokane and Sacramento before the season opener, a two-game series with the Clippers in Japan on October 30 and 31.

Pizza helps them plan
Though no one wants a win more than these guys, Blaine�s 0-6 football team hasn�t let their lack of success get to them in terms of attitude and spirit. Each Thursday they eat dinner together after practice along with parents active in the booster club, watch game films for the coming opponent and set goals and objectives.

�It�s a chance for these guys to bond and to get to know each other better,� said head coach Dave Fakkema. Last week�s menu was something like nine different kinds of pizza that the team inhaled in five or six seconds.

C.J. Stauffer makes lemonade
When Blaine dropped boys tennis last June it left one competitor, C.J. Stauffer, high and dry. But when life hands you lemons, so they say, make lemonade.

Stauffer managed to hook up with the Lynden high school tennis team as a co-op player under coach Trey Ballard. The five-foot-10-inch 170 pound junior commutes to play with the squad, and though he can�t count the matches as anything other than exhibition he said he's gotten some good competition out of the deal.

�Lynden�s guys have more than once forfeited the No. 2 singles match so I could play it instead. They�ve really been great to work with,� Stauffer said.

Stauffer even has a chance to represent Blaine at state if he can qualify for the AA tennis tri-districts by beating a South Whidbey player in a match yet to be scheduled. �I�ll play their No. 2 player, and if I beat him then I'll play their No. 1 and also be into the tri-districts.�

Coach Ballard also has co-op players from Nooksack Valley, Lynden Christian, and a pool of home-schooled students in addition to Blaine.