It was an ideal fall day for a soccer match at Pipeline Field – warm and sunny with a dry field and two competitive teams in a conference matchup. Tuesday, October 2 also had a little bit of wind, with gusts affecting ball flight, but both the Borderites and Meridian Trojans looked ready to go after warming up.
The first few minutes saw the girls adjusting for the wind. Once they settled down it was just a good defensive battle up to the 35-minute mark. Then a textbook offensive play, started by the Blaine defense, unfolded. The defense centered the ball to junior Olivia Olason.
Olason, using classic moves by switching feet, dribbled to the Meridian side of the center stripe. She shoulder-faked one way and went the other to avoid Trojan defenders. With the accuracy and anticipation that only comes from years of practice, Olason delivered the ball to a spot where a streaking Hope Wilkett could get it. Before Meridian defenders showed, Wilkett unloaded the ball quickly to freshman Ashley Quesada. Quesada used her gift of fast feet to dribble and strike it past a diving goalkeeper for a Borderite goal.
Blaine took the lead at the 35:22 mark 1-0, and it stayed that way to end the half.
“I felt good out there today,” Olason said. Her eyes drifted away to the nearby smaller field adjacent to the varsity field, where she started playing more than 10 years ago.
“I started playing soccer in elementary school,” she continued. “I have been playing during the school’s off-season for the Whatcom Football Club Rangers.”
Olason hopes Travis Connel, coach of the Rangers and the Western Washington University women’s team, will value her play and recommend her for a college scholarship.
“That is part of my goal to become a dental hygienist,” Olason continued. “Right now I enjoy playing with my fellow Borderites. They are my friends, and team play makes you close like family.”
“The Trojans are a proud program, and they will come out to start the second half on fire,” coach Dan Steelquist said at halftime. He was right, with the Trojans’ Emily Schwson scoring the tying goal at the 46-minute mark.
The remainder of the game was a replay of the first half, a strong defensive battle. The contest ended in the one-all tie. Goalkeeper Anna Hewitt had five saves for the Borderites.
“I am really proud of our girls – a few years ago we could not play even with Meridian,” Steelquist said. “We have played decent soccer over our last three games, and the girls are starting to realize they can play with anyone.”