The Borderites played like a well-oiled machine during several of their last half dozen games. They ended up playing leading teams from other conferences, playing some of the best teams in state, and only came up one win short of receiving a sixth seed at state.
“It was a great season,” head coach Dan Steelquist said. “We grew as a team as the season went along. Our competitive game reached state level of play, and we started to realize on any given day we could play with the best.”
The Borderites struggled in their first month of the season. With coaching, athletic ability and hard work they improved to be a formidable foe. They started slow with only three wins in their first 10 games. They ended the season with 11 wins, four ties and 10 losses – well enough to advance to the district playoffs.
From there they advanced to the tri-district tournament for the state seeding. Luck was not on their side, however. They advanced to play Eatonville, down by Mt. Rainier at Orting stadium. This meant a six-hour bus ride each way and, on top of that, the bus broke down extending their trip.
The schedule also proved unkind to them, as they had to play four games in a one-week period (October 24 to November 1). The girls rose to the test of playoff soccer conditions. They positioned themselves where they needed to be, just one more win against The Northwest School to get the bid to state. Fatigue and tired legs proved to be their Achilles heel, and their season ended November 3.
“The loss was hard to take but I am really proud of this team,” Steelquist said. “All the girls contributed to bring our level of play up to state level of competition. We have not been to the playoff for four years, and they got us back where we belong. This was important as it was our goal at the beginning of the season.” Steelquist added that they’d re-adjusted their goals and were disappointed they did not make it to state. “The bar has now been raised and next year’s girls will expect and know what it takes to get back to this level,” he said.
Steelquist had nothing but praise for his seniors.
“Next year’s team should be more of a possession team that brings the ball upfield on the outsides, then crosses it over to the center for a shot,” Steelquist said. “When we switched to that from a direct attack team this year, we were more successful.”