Sports -- September 22, 2005

Published on Thu, Sep 22, 2005
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SPORTS
by Jack Kintner

Blaine girl’s soccer narrowly defeated

Though they ultimately lost 4-3 on a shoot-out, Blaine’s girls played perhaps the finest half of soccer seen in many years at the Pipe last Tuesday afternoon. It followed a first half where the Lady B’s politely allowed league powerhouse Meridian to get ahead of them two-nil on goals by Alex Hull and Miranda Heslep.

When they came in for the halftime break they looked like they’d been playing, but then came up with a second half that put their lackadaisical first half into perspective.

It was a night and day difference. You could almost here Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) on the sidelines when the second half began, “That wasn’t soccer, mate, THIS is.”

Somehow awakened from their first half torpor by coach Dan Steelquist’s quiet style, they came out and swept Meridian before them like Philistines. Wren Baldwin poked in a moderately long goal at 4 minutes, then Kristen Elsbree added her goal at 19 minutes followed by the fleet and thunder-footed Bailey Richardson a few minutes later.

Before they knew it, they had the league’s leading team frantically back on its heels, unable to advance a play beyond two to three passes before the ball would be descended upon and intercepted like a Spitfire over the Channel by a focused and effective Lady B, their kicks thudding like distant artillery.

Coach Steelquist is not a screamer, but his quietly encouraging style unleashed something in this team not seen at the Pipe in some years.
“It was the best comeback I’ve seen here,” her said, “and I mean when you’re down two goals to the league leader and then come back like that, it’s a terrific accomplishment.”

Late in the game Blaine fouled Meridian striker Miranda Heslep deep in the front corner. She buried the subsequent penalty shot that was, as 70 per cent of them are, a foregone conclusion. That led to a shoot-out, and that led to Meridian backing into a lucky 4-3 win. But Blaine showed a level of skill and persistence in the game that revealed not just their unusual aptitude but a genuine championship caliber that will begin to show itself more and more as this young season unfolds.

Blaine plays Lakewood Saturday, at noon at the Pipe.

Youth basketball team seeks volunteers

Blaine youth basketball will be holding its first meeting of the 2005-06 basketball season on Sunday, October 2 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at high school coach Dan Rucker’s room on the high school campus.

The leaders of the program are looking for parents to get involved in the program. Volunteers can help in a number of ways, from assisting the coaches communicate with parents to helping organize tournaments. Also, parents whose sons will be playing basketball this year in the fifth through eighth grades are encouraged to attend.

Blaine youth basketball, formerly the Blaine AAU Boys Basketball program, is changing its name to encourage more kids to try out for the various levels of play available. Blaine youth basketball has teams in the fifth through eighth grade levels.

“By developing more teams at each grade level, we hope to get more kids to play basketball. Our goal is to make sure every kid in Blaine has the opportunity to play at a level they are comfortable at, can be successful and, most importantly, have fun,” said spokesman Wayne Schouten.

If you are interested in helping out, contact Wayne Schouten at 371-5371.