by Jack Kintner
Borderites whip Mountaineers 5-1
junior Michael Waslohn, playing in just his third game
as a forward instead of a midfielder, lit up Mt. Baker
for four goals last Monday at the Pipe as Blaine gave the
hapless Mounties a taste of Agent Orange with a decisive
Defenseman Jordan Steelquist also scored with a thundering 50-yard boot in the second half that sailed into the goal like a returning space probe, just clearing the crossbar. Blaine was playing without their normal keeper Ryan Elsbree and deep defender Ryan Goodwin, but the positions were filled admirably by sophomore Danny Dougan in Goodwin’s place and senior Anton Baydak playing in goal for the first time in a varsity game.
The victory took Blaine out of a last-place tie in league play, and was accomplished according to a smiling head coach Dan Steelquist, “by these guys realizing that they can play at this level, doing to other teams what we’ve had done to us.”
Baker is a scrappy team, better than the score would indicate, and may have been looking past Blaine. The Mounties’ offense is built around senior striker Julian Thielemeyer, a soccer-savvy exchange student from Hamburg, Germany, and junior Kyle Kimber, the league’s only flip-thrower – he does a handspring to put the ball into play from the sideline with impressive accuracy and distance.
Baker’s offense is designed to trap opposing forwards offside. Indeed, the B’s were caught on occasion getting downfield too soon but that’s a minor violation indicating good hustle rather than an offensive miscue. And hustle was what Blaine did for the entire 80 minutes, sophomore Tyler Burch at one point running right out of his own shoe on a promising right side breakaway.
Waslohn and frontline teammates Ryan Tripp and Burch dominated play on Baker’s half of the field for much of the first half, Waslohn hitting the crossbar at one point with one of his half-dozen or so Howitzer-like shots on goal. Baker, meanwhile, played with just nine men for much of the first half. They discovered their mistake at a free kick opportunity and subbed in two players for one with about ten minutes left and the game still scoreless, which was when Blaine began to score.
Waslohn’s first goal came with nine minutes left in the first half. Ryan Tripp pulled defenders away as Waslohn took a pass from Patrick Mulholland and went almost straight in for a fast and very pretty 10-yard poke, Waslohn circling around afterward and smiling like a hungry dog after the first bite of a stolen t-bone.
Seven minutes into the second half, Waslohn scored his second goal unassisted. Five minutes later Steelquist intercepted a pass near midfield and sent the ball arcing high overhead and into the Baker goal mouth.
By this time, Blaine had Baker on its back, and with another Ryan Tripp assist Waslohn got his hat trick in the 27th minute. Baker was to ruin Blaine’s shut-out by getting a ball past Baydak with five minutes left, but that was answered by another Tripp assisted Waslohn goal in the final minute.
Blaine put out as much offense in this game as they have in all the other games they’ve played so far this year, combined. No longer in the league cellar, they carry a 3-5 (3-9) into the last four games of the regular season.
They will play Nooksack on the road Friday, April 21, before returning for a two-game home stand, playing Lynden Christian on Monday, April 24 and Meridian on Wednesday, April 26.
They close out the regular season on the road, playing Mt. Baker again at Kendall elementary school on Friday, April 28, and will then begin post-season play in district competition beginning May 6.