Two goals from senior forward Samantha Nault propelled the Borderite girls’ team to their first conference play win of the season, 2-1, against the Mt. Baker Mountaineers Tuesday afternoon.
The Mountaineers’ late-game push and eventual goal was not enough to turn the game in their favor. Mt. Baker beat the Borderites in shots on goal, but Blaine was able to place the ball where it counts.
Blaine head coach Dan Steelquist said the Borderites controlled the ball well and were dominant on the field preceding each goal. The team knows how to play together well and communicate effectively, he said.
“I don’t think they know how good they are,” Steelquist said.
The Borderite’s win against Mt. Baker followed an 8-0 shutout against Nooksack Valley High School on Saturday.
The Lady B’s blanked Nooksack in the third of three non-conference games that started their season. Blaine’s victories come after losing 3-1 to Lynden Christian and 2-0 to Granite Falls last week.
Nault came out firing from the start with three goals against Nooksack within the first 10 minutes of play. She then stepped back to a midfield position and offered assists on three additional goals.
“We were firing on all cylinders,” Steelquist said in a phone interview.
The Borderites were much more relaxed in their game against Nooksack than their previous two showings, Steelquist said.
The Nooksack game was all about possession leading to precision attacks rather than just all-out scoring attempts, he said.
Blaine turned those possessions into their most impressive scoring performance of the season. In addition to Nault’s efforts taking the lead by three 10 minutes into the game, senior forward Katey Conway had two goals while senior defender Bethany Dahl and sophomore midfielders Nicole Statham and Hope Wilkett each had one.
Steelquist said he hopes his girls’ confidence coming off a two-game winning streak will push them ahead of 3A school Ferndale on Thursday. Steelquist praised his team for never complaining about a lack of substitutions in their games, especially against much bigger teams that have the resources to sub players at will.
The skill of expert finisher Nault, with her six goals so far in four games, will precede Blaine on their trip to Ferndale.
Steelquist said Ferndale, like most other teams, will be gearing up to handle the senior forward.
“Everybody knows who [Nault] is,” Steeelquist said.
Game time for the Blaine, Ferndale matchup is 4 p.m. on Thursday in Ferndale.
Photo by Jeremy Schwartz