The Blaine girls’ soccer team showed good effort but lost 4-1 against a Bellingham team stacked with club players on Tuesday, September 25.
The Borderites put up a valiant effort against the high-powered Red Raiders, which included a half-dozen or so girls who practice and play for their traveling select club when not playing for their high school team. Thus, on that clear warm fall day, the odds were stacked against the Borderites.
The Red Raiders showed their prowess early, coming out with a burst of energy to score two quick goals by Kate Troutman and Mia Hodges. Blaine countered with aggressive play by Alexis McElwain, Jessica Belding and Gretchen Kordas. Their defensive extra effort was able to stop the runaway Red Raider train and enable the offense to get up to game speed.
After playing at the same level for a 15-minute stretch, the Borderites put on a nifty scoring drive of their own. It all started with freshman middle fielder Taylor Bryan harassing Bellingham’s Larkyn Nelson while she was attempting to dribble into Blaine territory. Bryan patiently waited for a chance, then snagged the ball with a quick strike of her foot. Bryan took the ball downfield, keeping it away from the upset Nelson. Seeing teammate Olivia Olason streaking toward goal, she booted a perfect missile between two Red Raiders right to Olason, who flicked a shot toward the goal, where Liz Berry met it and caromed it in to the back of the net.
“That was a great team play – probably one of the best we have had all year,” said head coach Dan Steelquist. “It all started on extra effort by Taylor Bryan.”
“I just love playing soccer,” Bryan said. “I have been playing for nine years, since kindergarten. I am willing to practice all year and do not get tired of it. It is part of my career goal to be a physical education teacher and coach soccer some day. Of course, that will all have to wait until after I play soccer in the 2020 Olympics.”
Bellingham was the more advanced team in the matchup, and Steelquist knew it. He was realistic in his praise of the team and its outcome.
“Girls, you have put up a good fight against a powerful team that has not lost in conference this year,” Steelquist told his team. “You gave good effort, and we had our few moments of glory. I am proud of you.”