Through more than half of a home soccer game against 2A Anacortes, Blaine matched the larger team stride for stride, keeping within one goal well into the second half. Fatigue due to lack of substitutes proved to be Blaine’s Achilles’ heel, as Anacortes was able to muscle their way to a lopsided victory.
In the first half the ball went back and forth, spending an equal amount of time in both zones. Blaine couldn’t put the ball away
despite several corner kick attempts and a few great shots on net with matching saves. Anacortes scored twice on breakaways after momentary defensive breakdowns.
Early in the second half, Blaine put together an amazing string of passes. Luke Zuzarte got the ball to Danny Thorpe deep in Anacortes’ defensive zone. Thorpe powered through the last defender at Anacortes’ 18-yard line and fired the ball into the lower right corner of the net.
Thorpe’s goal put the score at 2–1 Anacortes, and with that momentum it looked like Blaine might have a chance at the upset.
Unfortunately for the Borderites, Anacortes had a higher gear that the undermanned Blaine squad couldn’t match. Two goals in quick succession led to a string of unanswered goals for Anacortes, and the game got away from Blaine. The final score of the March 26 matchup was 7–1.
With a couple of injuries and only 14 varsity players to begin with, Blaine had only two viable subs for an hour and a half of high-paced soccer.
“Against a larger, physical team like that, fatigue sets in,” said head coach Mike Couto. “They had gas when we didn’t.”
Blaine keeper Bud Holderson did all he could with a weary defense in front of him. Two of Anacortes’ goals snuck into the upper corners of the goal, and two more goals were rebounds after spectacular initial saves.
“If they didn’t have such a great goalie, we could have scored four or five more,” said an opposing fan.
“We tried a new formation,” Couto said. “We went with a 4–3–3 rather than a 4–4–2, and it seemed to work in the first half. In the second half, things just weren’t connecting. It was lot of kick and run.”
Play became physical as the game progressed. Late in the second half, Anacortes’ Justin Costanza received a yellow card for arguing with the referee.
Couto said he was proud of his team’s demeanor on the field.
“It’s ok to play hard and battle, but you should reflect the values of your school on the field, and our team consistently displays good character,” he said.
Moments of brilliance, including the string of triangle passing leading up to Blaine’s sole point in the game, offered hope that Blaine has some wins to look forward to, Couto said.
“They have that ability,” he said. “As they play more and more, I look forward to seeing them play at that level with more consistency.”
Blaine’s next soccer game is Thursday, March 28 at Bellingham.