BELLINGHAM - Fourth-year goalie Rachel Albert might be the best keeper in the state without a shutout after her first three games this season.
"Maybe," said Sehome coach Andria Fountain.
More to the point, however, Albert and the Mariners (2-0-1) also do not have a loss.
Albert was called upon to make 12 saves in Sehome's 2-1 non-conference victory over Bellingham on Saturday, Sept. 8, at Civic Field.
That gave Albert an unheard-of three-game total of 28 saves, a feat she has never had to accomplish in her stellar career.
"I like it (being busier than ever), but I'm hoping for a shutout," said Albert, who has had little chance to stop any of the four goals against her. "We're still working out some chinks in our defense, but we'll get it taken care of."
It seemed as though Albert would get that shutout, in spite of persistently challenging shots from Bellingham (0-2-1). But sophomore striker Sydney Wright scored for the Red Raiders in the final minute on a short power shot to a diving Albert's left, off an accurate pass from Larkyn Nelson.
The game began with a first for Sehome scoring leader Hanna Tarleton - a goal in the first minute off a corner kick.
"I was trying to bend it," said Tarleton, who added a goal in the seventh minute, giving the quick senior four of Sehome's six goals in three non-league games. "I've never done that before."
Bellingham goalkeeper Hannah Jacobus - who has had many more good minutes than bad in the first three games - gamely tried a tricky grab of the ball off-balance, but landed beyond the yellow line in the goal mouth.
The Red Raiders have surrendered six goals, all in the first 10 minutes of their three non-league games.
"We're going to have to focus more right from the start," said Bellingham coach Mark Wright. "We'll be working on that."
Wright was especially proud of how sophomore midfielders Hattie North and Mia Hodges challenged Sehome's physical style.
Likewise, Wright gave senior back-line defenders Jade Thurston, Bri Macri and Rachel Short-Miller plenty of credit for playing the bulk of the defensive minutes and holding the Mariners to eight shots in the final 73 minutes as Jacobus made four saves.
Sehome, which went 19-2 last season, fended off constant pressure from the Raiders, who forced Albert to make six saves in each half.
Albert made a leaping save against Mary Dyrland in the 60th minute. Albert then frustrated Brooke Baker's bid for a goal in the 65th minute and made her final save in the 76th minute.
"Rachel did a very good job," said Fountain, who also praised senior Teya Mischaikov for providing midfield leadership and stability.
Sehome opens Northwest Conference play against Lynden Christian on Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 4 p.m. at Northwest Soccer Park. Bellingham starts league play that night against Mount Baker at Civic Stadium.
SEHOME 2, BELLINGHAM 1
Scoring -- Goal: Hanna Tarleton (S), corner kick, time: 1; Goal: Tarleton, time; 7; Goal: Sydney Wright (B), assist: Larkyn Nelson; time: 79. Shots: Sehome 10, Bellingham 14. Goalkeepers (saves): Sehome: Rachel Albert (12); Bellingham: Hannah Jacobus (4).