by Jack Kintner
This year’s edition of Borderite girl’s soccer is starting fast, already 3-0 on the season with wins over Lynden (4-2), Anacortes (5-3) and Ferndale (2-1, OT).
Under the leadership of captain Alyssa Hendrickson the girls have brought cohesiveness to the playing field not seen since the days of Luke Ridnour when Blaine lit up the hardwood from here to Yakima and back. Against Lynden, playing at home, Blaine controlled the entire game with precision passing and heads-up defense. At Anacortes last Saturday the girls found themselves down by a goal 16 minutes into the match, and by another nine minutes later. Toward the close of the first half they seemed to get the hang of playing on the Seahawk’s narrow, barely legal field when converted goalkeeper Alyssa Makalai at forward sent home a shot in the 39th minute to cut the lead to 1-2.
Five goals were scored in the second half, three of them in the last seven minutes of play, beginning with Alyssa Hendrickson in the 13th minute to tie at 2. Freshman Michelle Berry scored at 23 minutes for a 3-2 Blaine lead but Anacortes came back at 33 minutes to tie it again at 3.
The Lady B’s then put the hammer down, as if like most visitors they’d seen enough of Anacortes and had decided to move on. Sophomore Bailey Richardson knocked home a goal in the 38th minute and less than 60 seconds later Hendrickson, Richardson’s tennis doubles partner and Blaine’s biggest weapon, scored for a second time despite being double-teamed throughout most of the match for the 5-3 win.
“They just kept scoring,” said assistant coach Kelly Tuski, “and that’s good.”
Ferndale played a very physical game at their deep-in-the-wood pitch on the shores of I-5, as if expecting nothing from Blaine at first and then reacting in a second half that was tough but fair and well officiated. Blaine, having played control soccer in their first game and as opportunistically as a cobra in the second, played a bend-don’t-break defense against Ferndale that turned to molasses every time the Golden Eagles moved within range of Blaine’s tough little goalie Janelle Gobbato.
More of the game was played in Blaine’s half of the field than Ferndale’s, and at the end of the second half Daisha Zwick pumped a corner kick to the feet of Courtney Udo for an easy goal to tie at 1. Two furious OT’s later the refs set up for a shoot-out.
Gobbbato blocked Ferndale’s first kick and Hendrickson scored for Blaine. Ferndale scored to make it 2-1 but was answered right away by Bailey Richardson for a 3-1 Blaine lead. Gobbato then saved the next shot for the Blaine win.
The girls have two tough games coming up, Lynden Christian here on Thursday the 14th and Sultan at noon on Saturday the 16th, to be played at Mount Vernon High School.
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, the Lady B’s took that and more in the opening few games of the new year before falling to a strong Ferndale side 0-3 Tuesday night at home in their first league contest.
Watching this team is like driving down a country lane where spots of blinding sunshine dapple the road followed by periods of tunnel-like darkness. The B’s showed moments of aggressive brilliance against the Golden Eagles but also stopped themselves more often than Ferndale did with miscues and poor communication. A brilliant volley would be followed by a dropped ball or a wild hit, leaving the team a little depressed afterward. What they didn’t see, but what was obvious from the stands, is that once they learn some consistency and can get over the “omigosh, I’m on the high board” nervousness of playing perennial powerhouses evenly, they’ll do just fine.
They’ve sure got the tools. Team captain and setter Melissa Galbraith puts these big fat lobs right in front of her fellow seniors, hitters Julie Meaker, Adrienne Greer and especially the windmilling killer arms of Janell Rouse. Against Nathan Hale in the championship match of the silver bracket at last Saturday’s Mariner Tournament in Everett Rouse nailed a kill shot that broke an opposing hitter’s nose. Gabby’s delicious sets sophomores Veronica Rooney and Natasha Place are as irresistible as an Oreo as they float up within range to be whacked like a 12 gauge on a duck.
Against Ferndale, Galbraith was 100 percent at serve for Blaine going 12 for 12 with one service ace. The industrious Aerial Fisher, playing with a sore back, went 8 for 8 at serve with two aces. Rouse had eight kills, Greer one and Rooney four.
But Blaine didn’t really wake up until they were into the third and deciding game against Ferndale. In the first game they fell behind 0-9 right away and never got back into it, losing 13-25.
In the second game they began to show some life but still finished six points down, 19-25. In the third game they tied it and then went ahead, 11-10, before Ferndale slowly crawled back. But Blaine, as if they weren’t used to such high altitude play, then gave it away to Ferndale 20-25.
Before Tuesday night’s debut, the girls already had 11 matches behind them. Four of them were at the season-opening Meridian jamboree last week, where they went 3-1. They played another seven in one day at Everett’s Mariner high school where they came home with the championship trophy. The girls are away this week, playing at Lynden Christian on the 14th and at Nooksack on Tuesday, September 19 before coming home for a great must-see matchup with Squalicum High School next Thursday, September 21.
Corrected game times -
The Borderites will meet the Bellingham Red Raiders at Civic Field in Bellingham on Friday, September 15 at 8 p.m. as the second half of a high school double-header. The time was incorrect in the schedule published two weeks ago.