Experience will be perhaps the best tool the Borderite girl’s soccer team will bring to the field this year. Coming off a 4-12, 11th place finish last year in the Northwest conference (NWC), Blaine loses only two starters from last year and Blaine coach Dan Steelquist believes that familiarity will breed team cohesiveness and a desire to play as a team.
“I think this year’s team will really enjoy playing together,” said Steelquist, “with important contributions from all grade levels.”
Top returnees are Samantha Nault, Katie Conway, Bethany Dahl, Anna Hewitt and Nicole Statham.
Steelquist hopes that a year of experience will solidify their chemistry and improve consistency and recognizable patterns of attack.
“While our league continues to be very competitive,” noted Steelquist, “our girls are ready to surprise some people.”
The schedule makers have looked favorably on the Borderites and momentum could be an ally early in the season. Seven of the first 11 games are going to be played in the friendly confines of Pipeline fields.
The first heavily favored opponent isn’t until September 16 at Ferndale, followed by a home tilt against Burlington-Edison.
Such momentum in September may be important to get through October, when the Borderites will play three of five on the road and will face state power, 20 game winner, Sehome, along with Bellingham and Squalicum.
However, the schedule again breathes easier with three winnable games going into the season finale at NWC champion Mount Vernon. Improvement over last year could equal a berth in the 2A play-in game.
While bigger schools may physically overmatch the Borderites, coach Steelquist is enthusiastic and optimistic.
“The girls are excited to get going,” Steelquist said. “This year’s team should bring lots of energy to the field.”