BELLINGHAM - Sehome coach Andria Fountain has been asking Emily Webster to be more selfish with the ball.
With clinical finishes like the one she put away Thursday, Sept. 20, against city-rival Squalicum, it's easy to understand why Fountain wants her standout midfielder to take more shots.
Webster only took four cracks at goal, but she scored the eventual game winner in the 33rd minute to propel the Mariners to a 1-0 Northwest Conference win against Squalicum under the lights at Civic Stadium.
"I moved her to a position this year that is completely new for her," Fountain said of Webster. "It sounds bad, but I'm trying to get her to be more selfish. She's playing as an attacking mid, but last year we had her as a true midfielder."
The Sehome junior leads the NWC in goals with nine, but she admitted she's had some growing pains adjusting to her new role.
"Squalicum is a great team, and we're always excited to play them," Webster said. "(My new position) is a lot different. In Rangers, I play as a defensive-center mid. Andria has asked me to start taking players on one-one-one. I'm not very comfortable with that, but I know it's something that I should work on, and I know it'll help me."
Webster's work in the attack turned out to be just enough to avenge the only blemish on Sehome's record. The Mariners (6-0-1, 4-0-0 NWC) tied Squalicum 2-2 in the second game of their season.
Fountain said she was pleased with the win but was looking for better team play.
"I thought it was a good individual effort," Fountain said. "I thought we could have played a little bit better as a team, but (Squalicum) played good defense."
The Storm's defense was stout the entire 80 minutes, giving up only one goal to the Mariners, who entering Thursday's match were averaging over three goals per outing.
Squalicum's defense, led by Lauren Wallace and Andrea DeVere, turned away an early Webster free kick and put the clamps on a ninth-minute scramble in Squalicum's 18-yard box, which resulted in a handful of attempted shots.
In the 24th minute, the Storm braved four consecutive Sehome corner kicks. The Mariners finally broke through in the 33rd minute on Webster's score.
"I think it was Christine (Zlotek) who was working down the right side," Webster said. "She crossed it, and both (Sehome) players swung and missed. The ball went right to me, and I was unmarked. I was so relieved when I saw it go into the back of the net."
Webster said she was worried she would launch her shot over the goal but, instead, she slotted a high shot past Squalicum keeper Shelby Spooner from 15 yards out.
The Storm failed to put a true shot on goal in the first half, but Squalicum freshman Rachel Dorr gave the Squalicum one of its best scoring chances of the match in the 17th minute.
Dorr intercepted a pass on the run at the midfield stripe, sprinted down the sideline and fed a through ball just out of the reach of Lauren Gibb, who would have had a one-one-one from close range with Sehome keeper Rachel Albert.
The city rivals managed few scoring opportunities the first 65 minutes, but the Storm came awfully close to equalizing late.
Julia DeVere, Lauren Gibb, Dorr and Kim Hazlett all tested Albert in the final 15 minutes, but the Sehome keeper proved why she's regarded the best in the conference.
"I thought we played pretty well, especially in the second half," Squalicum coach David Kish said. "We really took over late."
Sehome defenders Hannah Mankle, Emily Russell, Alli Umbaugh, Bryce Sherif and defensive/mid Teya Mischaikov joined Albert in playing an important role in the shutout.
"I was happy with our defense," Fountain said. "Their forwards are very fast. We had a few lapses, but it's nice to have Rachel in the back to help keep the shutout."
Sehome faces Lynden next at 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Northwest Soccer Park, while Squalicum plays Bellingham at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Whatcom Community College.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
SEHOME 1, SQUALICUM 0
Scoring: Goal: Emily Webster (Sehome). Shots on goal: Sehome 8; Squalicum 5. Goalies (saves): Sehome: Rachel Albert (4); Squalicum: Shelby Spooner/Lauren Eckert (7).
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.