By Jack Kintner
After blasting Nooksack 7-nil in their opener, Blaine’s soccer fortunes have taken a turn for the worse, leaving what appeared to be a powerful offensive line looking for answers as Blaine dropped the next three games to go to 1-4 on the season.
Blaine junior forward Casey McCabe has the only goal in that stretch while Blaine’s opponents have put 12 balls into the net, putting Blaine to the test physically as well as mentally.
“It’s more attitude than raw talent,” said head coach Dan Steelquist. “It’s a mental edge we have to find, a resilience to deal with playing the bigger teams, some of whom field several boys who play all year.”
Lakewood 5, Blaine 1
Blaine played one of the Cascade Conference’s elite teams evenly for much of the game, putting them behind when Casey McCabe sank a goal just nine minutes into the first half of what became a very physical match on a cold, hard field.
As in hockey, a fouled player who retaliates in soccer often gets the penalty the other player deserves, which was the case when both Blaine forwards ended up with second half yellow cards. Lakewood scored twice in two minutes in the first half, at 21 and 23 minutes, then three times in the second half within a seven minute stretch.
Lynden 3, Blaine nil
Hard working keeper Miguel Alvarez made 8 saves with little support as Blaine lost to a team they should be able to beat last Saturday on the road.
Though normally it’s Lynden who starts out slowly as if the boys are being chased out of bed to do chores, it was Blaine who played a flat first half letting the score slide to 2-nil before the break.
Ferndale 4, Blaine nil
A chastised Blaine side came out in the sunshine to meet the Golden Eagles.
Blaine kept things even in the first half with a bend-don’t-break defense that made sure to get back and cover on the speedy Ferndale forwards, forcing them to shoot from distances that made connecting difficult.
But they shot anyway, forcing Blaine keeper Miguel Alvarez to face a fusillade of long arcing balls that he was able to stop given the defensive support he got from Justin Kirkwood and, newly returned from the hockey team, Danny Dougan.
For the game, Ferndale outshot Blaine 30 to 11.
But the game was, once again, played at a physical level that seemed to at times intimidate Blaine more than Ferndale, though not always.
Toward the end of the first half Ferndale forward Trevor Rubright was homing in on a loose ball in front of the Blaine goal, but just before he made contact Alvarez made a diving save, landing directly on the ball and taking Rubright’s kick squarely in the back of his left thigh.
At halftime Steelquist ordered McCabe to put on a keeper uniform but after the ten minute break Alvarez felt ready to go and gutted out the second half, playing through the kind of pain that would make most of us pass out.
It cost him some mobility, although with no real back-up in goal Steelquist had little choice but to allow him to go back in.
Ferndale’s first score, a long shot that just slid under the crossbar, was one Alvarez normally would have blocked.
They scored again two minutes later, then added two more at 67 and 70 minutes as Blaine again went into a second half swoon.
This team, however, is definitely post-season quality once it finds its focus, with plenty of talent and balance to marshal, and once they do that for the whole game they’ll be fine.
Next game, Thursday March 20 at Lynden Christian, also will see the return of another defenseman, Vince Dodgson.
Event winners for Blaine in last week’s Polar Practice track meet at Sedro Woolley.
400 meters - Shayne Moore, 55.4
800 meters – Tim Bradley, 2:08.92
1600 meter relay – Bresnan, Moore, Johncox, Bradley, 3:42:40
110 high hurdles – Shayne Moore, 15.76
Shot Put – Bryan Chau, 43’11”
Discus – Blake Stanovich, 125’10”
Long Jump – Alex Bresnan, 19’ 3.5”
Triple Jump – Freddy Johncox, 35’ 8”
100 meters – Robin Taylor, 13.72
400 meters – Breanna Olason, 1:03.57
1600 meters – Margaret Farlin, 6:05
3200 meters – Margaret Farlin, 13:25
100 High Hurdles – Lacey Montgomery, 17.88
300 Low Hurdles – Lacey Montgomery, 50.36
400 meter relay – Colinares, Taylor, Olason, Raine, 54.28
800 meter relay – Colinares, Montgomery, Olason, Raine, 1:52.01
1600 meter relay – Raine, Olason, Montgomery, Moore, 4:31.7
Shot Put – Gaby Avena, 28’ 1”
Discus – Gaby Avena, 94’4”
Javelin – Gaby Avena, 79’ 2”
Pole Vault - Robin Taylor, 9’
3-11 Ferndale 12, Blaine 0
3-15 Blaine 5,4, Port Townsend 2,1
3-18 Meridian 10, Blaine 0
3-11 Blaine 7, Nooksack nil
3-13 Lakewood 5, Blaine 1
3-15 Lynden 3, Blaine nil
3-18 Ferndale 4, Blaine nil
3-12 Sehome 410, Bellingham 424, Mt. Vernon 445, Squalicum 445, Blaine 484, Sedro Woolley 518, Nooksack 629
3-11 Sehome 117, Bellingham 116, Sedro-Woolley 77, Squalicum 71, Mt. Vernon 51, Blaine 38, Nooksack 33
3-18 Blaine 5, Ferndale 2