The boys soccer team lost its season opener to Meridian 1–2, battling a physical team in a steady gale and spitting rain.
Blaine came out strong in the first minutes of the game, but a defensive breakdown led to two Meridian goals in quick succession.
Meridian’s Junior Castro scored in the 10th minute followed by a goal by Tomas Alvorado two minutes later, putting the Trojans ahead two-nil.
“We shored up our defense after those two goals, but they put us in a hole that we couldn’t overcome,” said head coach Mike Couto.
Playing into the wind in the first half, Couto said it slowed down balls kicked out of Blaine’s defensive end.
Blaine’s Peter Benne didn’t let the wind affect his service into the Meridian 18-yard line just before the end of the first half. Nick Butschli scored off of Benne’s set piece, cutting Meridian’s lead by one.
“That goal moved and motivated us into the second half,” Couto said.
Blaine looked like a different team coming out after halftime, more than matching Meridian by keeping the ball in offensive
territory for a majority of play.
Beginning his second year as varsity keeper, Bud Halldorson made 11 saves.
“He’s become a stronger presence in net,” Couto said. “He made some clutch saves, and he’s more vocal to his teammates from the net.”
With the wind behind him in the second half, Halldorson was able to launch goal kicks all the way to Meridian’s goal line.
Some of Halldorson’s goal kicks led to split-second scoring opportunities, but Blaine’s forwards failed to capitalize.
Despite Blaine’s elevated play in the first minutes and the second half, Meridian held on to its lead for the non-conference win.
“It was a tough loss because we came out so strong and aggressive, really controlling the first 10 minutes of the game,” Couto said. “We knew they were going to be physical, and even though we lost I’m really encouraged by what I saw. We’ll definitely have a stronger showing next time we play Meridian.”
The Borderites play two home games this week: Nooksack on Thursday, March 14 and Lynden-Christian on Saturday, March 16. All games are played on Pipeline field.