Like any coach, Sehome's Andria Fountain evaluates what positions need help before the season.
For the last three years, there's been no question who is playing Fountain's defensive mid spot. That has belonged to Teya Mischaikov.
"It just makes my job a little easier as far as focusing on other things," Fountain said in a phone interview. "She has been focusing on offense more this year, but I haven't had to do a lot of coaching with her."
Mischaikov has joined defenders Hannah Mankle, Emily Russell and goalie Rachel Albert to form on of the stingiest defenses in Whatcom County.
The Mariners have allowed just 12 goals and posted seven straight shutouts at one point in the regular season.
Fountain will look for the same production out of Mischaikov and her Sehome defense when the Mariners travel to face Klahowya in a Class 2A State quarterfinal match Saturday, Nov. 10, at Silverdale Stadium.
As valuable as Mischaikov has been defensively, she has shown her ability to be an offensive asset, as well.
The senior co-captain ranks third among Sehome players in goals with nine and has one assist. Her production in the attack has helped Sehome add wins while Fountain has figured out who was going to replace the goals graduated players Madison Heilmann and Jessica Bertucci scored a season ago.
"I think it's just because she is one of the team captains," said Fountain when asked about the nine goals by Mischaikov, who recorded two and one assist as a junior. "At the beginning of the year, I wasn't sure where we were going to get goals from. We had just moved some girls up from JV. I told her, 'I want you to play a more offensive role.' I gave her the green light and said, 'Hey, if you have a shot, take it.'"
Mischaikov's sophomore and junior year, emotionally speaking, couldn't have been different. Two years ago, Mischaikov capped her season with a 6-2 win against White River and Class 2A State title. Last season, Sehome soared into the state quarterfinals, but suffered a shocking 3-2 defeat to Cedarcrest at Civic Stadium.
Fountain said the loss hit Mischaikov hard.
That's one of the reasons the Mariners' coach believes her senior mid has enjoyed a strong postseason thus far. Mischaikov scored against Cedarcrest in the opening round of the Northwest District Tournament, the only regulation goal in Sehome's second-round district 1-1 shootout win against Granite Falls and again against North Kitsap in the first round of the Class 2A State Tournament.
"Last year playing, she was one of the ones that was hit hard by the loss," Fountain said. "She's doing everything she can to try to make sure the team is successful."
When preparing for an opponent, Fountain said she focuses on what her team can do, instead of what the opponent can. She said Klahowya seems to be a bit stronger than North Kitsap, but she feels strong about a quarterfinal berth if the Mariners play like they're capable of.
"I thought we played really well in our final regular season game against Burlington-Edison, but we struggled a little in districts. We've had some great practices this week."
CLASS 2A STATE SOCCER QUARTERFINALS
SEHOME AT KLAHOWYA
When: 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10
Site: Silverdale Stadium
On the line: Class 2A State Tournament semifinal berth
No. Player Yr. Pos.
0 Rachel Albert Sr. GK
00/1 Hannah Lauffer Jr. GK
3 Haidyn Weight Jr. M
4 Ashley Mindnich Jr. F
5 Hanna Tarleton Sr. M
6 Savanna Balfour Jr. D
7 Alia Jones Jr. F
9 Bryce Sherif Fr. D
10 Marie Kochman Jr. F
11 Kate Peterson So. F
15 Hannah Mankle Sr. D
16 Emily Russell Sr. D
17 Christine Zlotek Sr. M
18 Heron Paulsen-Quick Sr. D/M
19 Teya Mischaikov Sr. M/D
20 Katie Boon-Dooley Fr. D
22 Kelsey Willis Jr. D
23 Alli Umbaugh Sr. D
24 Emily Webster Jr. M
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.