With a win over Vashon Island in the first round of the 1A Tri-District tournament, the Blaine boys soccer team is making a run towards state that began with a crowd-pleasing win over Lynden Christian last week.
The Borderites lost to Kings and Mount Baker in districts, but claimed a berth at Tri-Districts on the strength of their initial 4–2 win over Lynden Christian. A 2–1 victory over Vashon Island on May 13 earned the Double B’s two more chances to get to the state tournament.
The game against Vashon Island, played at Bonney Lake High School southeast of Tacoma, was tied for most of the match.
Kai Griffin drew first blood for Blaine 25 minutes in when Nick Butschli sent a through ball into the 18-box and Griffin beat the keeper to the 50–50 ball.
Three minutes later, Vashon Island responded by volleying in a shot from close in front of the Blaine net. The game stayed tied at one point for the better part of the next hour. Nick Butschli put the Borderites ahead 2–1 in the 76th minute off an assist from Garren Economy, and the orange and black were able to hold on for the win. Blaine keeper Tristan Hunter made four spectacular saves.
“It was an exciting game,” said Blaine coach Gio Quesada. “We played great possession and did a good job moving the ball from side to side. The defense played really solid, getting the ball up to the midfield, which transitioned well to the offense. We put a lot of pressure on the other team.”
Quesada said he couldn’t name a single player who deserved credit for the win.
“The key for the game was teamwork. They played together and they believed in each other. Everyone put everything they had on the field,” he said.
A similar all-out effort propelled the team to a win in their district game at home against Lynden Christian on May 7. Blaine won 4–2.
Zack Oakley scored the first goal early in the game on a Blaine counterattack, outrunning a defender to get to a free ball kicked forward by Butschli and pinning a strong shot into the corner of the net. Butschli scored the second goal on a free kick 30 yards out from the net. He lofted the ball with his left foot over the goalkeeper’s hands to the far post.
Garren Economy scored Blaine’s third goal a few minutes into the second half with a rifle-powered shot that went low and right of the keeper. He scored off an assist from his brother Colton Economy, who would go on to score Blaine’s final goal.
“When they’re in form together, they create some amazing plays,” Butschli said, referring to the Economy brothers.
The Lyncs responded with their first goal of the game midway through the second half.
Colton’s goal came in the 65th minute when he chased down a ball that was misplayed in the goalie box. His persistence put Blaine ahead 4–1.
Lynden Christian scored on a header in the final minutes for a final score of 4–2.
Garren Economy said the victory in front of the raucous home crowd was thrilling.
“It’s the first time in a long time we’ve gotten past the first round. It was an amazing game. We had a lot of energy, and we were unyielding,” he said. “This is the beginning of something new for Blaine soccer.”
Butschli said the win was especially significant after tying with Lynden Christian (LC) twice earlier in the season. He attributed the change in outcome in part to the positive energy pouring out from the stands.
“It was really cool to have everyone out here supporting us and be able to give them a win. LC played a good game, and it helped that we were on our home field,” Butschli said. “We passed really well and everyone was in position. I’m really proud of how the team played.”
Quesada said his team’s performance went beyond his expectations.
“I expected energy today, but the way they came out today blew me away,” he said. “The parents and fans were a big part of bringing that extra energy. That positive support has played a big role and I know the kids appreciate it.”
In an effort to give back to the community that has been supporting them, the team visited the Good Samaritan Society – Stafholt home on May 2 to spend time with the seniors who live there.
“I want to thank the seniors at Stafholt for letting us visit. I think it was a valuable and positive experience for the team,” Quesada said.
To continue their playoff run, the Borderites will have to win at least one of their next two games. They will face either Cascade Christian or South Whidbey at Interlake High School on Thursday, May 15 at 6 p.m.
If they win, the Borderites will finish fifth in the Tri-District tournament and move onto state. If they lose, they will play on Saturday, May 17 for sixth place and a state bid against either Charles Wright Academy or the winner of a match between Mount Baker and Seattle Academy.