After an encouraging 1-1 tie against Sedro-Woolley to begin the season, Blaine girls soccer dropped its first loss on the road to Burlington-Edison. The tough, 4-0 loss seemed to be a wake-up call for a team that may not be in rhythm this early in the season. Just two games into the season, the Borderites had only one point to show for in the standings, and had been outscored by a total of 5-1 in that span.
The Borderites’ bounce-back opportunity came on September 18, hosting Lakewood High School. The game was a defensive slugfest for most of the first half, but Blaine controlled the majority of possession, and constantly challenged Lakewood’s back line.
The Borderites entered the halftime locker room tied 0-0, and had gone over four halves without scoring a goal. That quickly changed when a second half corner kick found its way to senior winger Lucy Dahl, who slotted a cool rebound goal to give the Borderites a 1-0 lead.
Both of Blaine’s two goals on the young season have come from Dahl, and both have come during the chaotic scrums of a corner kick. Those set piece goals were exactly what head coach Gio Quesada-Ruiz emphasized during the preseason. He knew Dahl would be a key to capitalizing on those opportunities, he said.
“That’s the payback for Lucy [Dahl] after working hard for years,” Quesada-Ruiz said postgame. “I think she ran an extra 10 miles today.”
Dahl wasn’t the only upperclassman making game-changing plays throughout the day. Reigning Northwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year, junior goalkeeper Larissa Pluschakov made multiple late-game saves to keep Blaine’s slim 1-0 lead intact. On a one-on-one breakaway with just seconds to play and the win seemingly destined to be squandered into a tie, Pluschakov fell on a low shot headed for the corner, icing the game at 1-0, and earning her first clean sheet of the season.
“[Our defense] held their own,” Pluschakov said. “I’m super proud of them for keeping their heads up even on the one-on-ones they didn’t win. They still kept their heads up and they still fought back.”
Quesada-Ruiz had a curt description of the junior keeper’s game.
“Hero. Simple, one word,” Quesada-Ruiz said. “She kept her composure and made nice saves in the air. That’s high class.”
Now sitting at 1-1-1 on the year, girls soccer hopes to continue its success on Thursday, September 21 against Squalicum at 7:30 p.m. at Borderite Stadium.
Varsity volleyball continues to struggle early in the season, dropping its fourth consecutive straight-set loss to fall to 0-4. The Borderites traveled to cross-county rivals Ferndale on September 13, and Lynden on September 19, and were never able to find a footing as a team, losing both games 3-0.
In an interview with The Northern Light on September 12, head coach Jacquie Tesarik said the team showed in the AMHS Volleyball Classic on September 9 that it has what it takes to be successful. Blaine finished the multi-team tournament in the championship round, beating numerous teams to reach the final round. But the Borderites have been unable to replicate that success in the regular season.
“When they put all the parts that we talk about and practice together, that’s how successful they can be, and that’s how it was for our tournament weekend,” Tesarik said. “When you put in the work and each individual takes responsibility for what their role is and that they all do that together … then we can have success.”
Borderite volleyball continues the season with a home game against Lynden Christian on Thursday, September 21 at 7 p.m. in the Blaine gymnasium.
The Blaine cross-country program continued its season with a pair of race events in the past week. The first was on September 13 in Anacortes, where the Blaine boys team competed in a 5,000-meter course against Lynden Christian and Anacortes. Blaine placed last in team score with a combined score of 81, trailing far behind Lynden Christian’s 44 and home team Anacortes’ 19.
A four-runner group of Borderites placed 31-34 in the boys race, led by junior Ian Tuski with a finish time of 22:15, followed by juniors Tucker Greene (22:16), Steven Phelps-McDonald (22:18) and senior Sam Stiles (22:24). Seven other Blaine runners recorded times of under 30:10.
The next meet was another 5,000-meter course at the 44th annual Carl Westling Invitational on Whidbey Island on September 16. The Blaine boys team raced in the JV group and placed second overall as a team with a score of 91.
Tucker Greene finished in 11th place with a 21:04 time, with Ian Tuski (21:04.63) and Sam Stiles (21:05) finishing right behind him for 12th and 13th place. All three runners, and freshman Phelps-McDonald, who finished in 18th with a 21:23 time, set personal season records for 5,000-meter runs, a sign that Blaine is getting faster with every event.
Blaine’s next cross-country event was scheduled to be another 5,000-meter course at Fort Nugent Park in Oak Harbor on September 20 against Meridian and Oak Harbor. After that, the Borderites travel to Shoreline for the King’s Cross Invitational on Saturday,
Blaine will be hosting Ferndale and Burlington-Edison for a meet at Peace Arch State Park on Wednesday, September 27. The race was originally planned for Pipeline Fields, but was changed to Peace Arch by head coach Roberto Aguilera. Boys will run at 4:30 p.m. and girls at 5:05 p.m.
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