SHORELINE - Physically and emotionally spent from narrowly missing a chance to play for a 2A state title less than 24 hours before Squalicum's third or fourth-place match, a bigger and stronger West Valley Yakima took advantage.
The Storm's small squad in stature couldn't find a way through the Ram's lengthy defense, despite another strong Squalicum defensive performance.
"We are a very small team, and they were a lot bigger than us, so our usual quick passes and crosses through weren't working," Storm co-captain and defender Lauren Wallace said. "Because they were so much taller, they could head the ball away."
Although the Storm's history-making season ended with two losses in the Class 2A State Tournament's final four, coach David Kish praised his team's effort.
"My girls played with a lot of heart," Kish said. "They were exhausted from yesterday's game. They rallied and did the best they could."
Unfortunately, for Squalicum, its best only netted a fourth-place trophy. An impressive prize, but not what Squalicum was hoping for heading into the weekend.
Possession play from Squalicum's front and middle third helped the Storm dictate much of the first-half, but one mental lapse gave West Valley Yakima the only score it needed to win the match.
West Valley's Alyssa Wickenhagen put the Rams in front 1-0 in the 21st minute with a shot from 15 yards out off an assist from teammate Courtney Wells.
A West Valley Yakima forward got loose down the right side and sent a threatening cross into the middle of Squalicum's 18-yard box. Despite the effort of Storm defenders Jackie Dierdorff and Lauren Wallace, the pass reached the foot of Wells, who made a quick pass to Wickenhagen on the left side of the field. The Rams' forward settled and fired a shot across the face of Storm keeper Lauren Eckert into the right side of the goal.
"It was just a really nice run from their outside midfielder," said Kish of what started the score. "It was a simple play that you would want all your outside mids to run. They played a cross into the middle, the girl snuck inside of my defender and there was nothing we could do."
Lauren Gibb had two of Squalicum's best scoring opportunities in the first half. In the eighth minute, the junior mid found some open space on the left side of the field and fired a shot near post, but Rams' keeper Rozlyn Pratt cut off Gibb's angle on goal and made a simple save.
The Storm's best scoring chance in the game happened in the 28th minute. Gracie Slater played a nice through ball to Gibb, who was open on the left side of the field 15 yards from goal. Gibb would've had an open shot, but she couldn't collect the bouncing ball to put a legitimate shot on frame.
The state final four proved to be an offensive struggle for Squalicum, which failed to score in 170 minutes of play.
Originally, Kish said he thought Squalicum's empty scoreline was due to the shock of playing in the state semis for the first time in school history but, in hindsight, he credited opposing defenses.
"I think maybe because the stage, some of the things we have done so well this year didn't click during these games," Kish originally said before changing his mind. "But, I can't actually say that, because we did possess, and we did knock the ball around really well. I think it's the quality of the opponents. I mean, we're playing the top four teams in the state right now. It's just the way it goes."
Neither club could get its attack going in the second half. West Valley Yakima played more defensively, and Squalicum's only real scoring chance happened on a pair of corner kicks.
As soon as the game ended, Kish huddled his girls and thanked seniors Andrea DeVere, Leigha Schjelderup, Zoe Peterson, Summer Allen and Wallace for leading Squalicum all year.
"It's been an extremely rewarding season," Kish said. "I'm proud these girls made history. As hard as they have worked, all the girls played for each other. It was all about the team, and I'm grateful for that. It wasn't a bunch of individuals out there, it was a team."
Wallace echoed Kish's words.
"It was pretty awesome," said Wallace of ending her season in the final four. "Andrea and I and all our seniors - Zoey, Leigha and Summer - we have been working for this since our freshman year, because every senior class before us has come so close (to state), but hasn't got it. We won our first two district games, which we've never done. We made it past the first round of state, which we have never done before. We kept making in through and made it to the final four. Our entire school was so psyched for us. It was really awesome just to do this much with such a great group of girls."
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
WEST VALLEY YAKIMA 1, SQUALICUM 0
Scoring: Goal: Alyssa Wickenhagen (Squalicum), assist: Courtney Wells, time: 21. Shots on goal: Squalicum 4; West Valley Yakima 3. Goalies (saves): Squalicum: Lauren Eckert (2); West Valley Yakima: Rozlyn Pratt (3).
SQUALICUM (19-3-1), (11-1-0)
Sept. 6 Sehome (Civic) T 2-2
Sept. 8 Ferndale (WCC) W 3-0
Sept. 13 Burlington-Edison (Civic)* W 2-0
Sept. 18 Lynden (Civic)* W 6-0
Sept. 20 at Sehome (Civic)* L 1-0
Sept. 22 at Bellingham (WCC) W 3-0
Sept. 25 at Meridian* W 3-0
Sept. 27 Bellingham (Civic)* W 1-0
Sept. 29 at Jackson (Everett Memorial) W 2-0
Oct. 2 at Sedro-Woolley* W 8-0
Oct. 4 Nooksack Valley (Civic)* W 8-0
Oct. 9 at Blaine (Pipeline)* W 4-1
Oct. 11 at Ferndale* W 4-0
Oct. 16 Mount Baker (Northwest)* W 4-0
Oct. 18 at Lynden Christian* W 8-1
Oct. 22 Anacortes (Civic)* W 3-0
CLASS 2A DISTRICT TOURNAMENT
Oct. 27 Lake Washington (at Civic Stadium) W 2-1 (SO)
Oct. 30 at Archbishop Murphy (at King's) W 2-1
Nov. 1 Sehome W 2-1
CLASS 2A STATE TOURNAMENT
Nov. 7 Fife W 6-0
Nov. 10 Hockinson W 4-1
Nov. 16 Sumner L 1-0 (SO)
Nov. 17 West Valley Yakima L 1-0
SQUALICUM'S SCORING LEADERS
Goals Asst. Points
Kim Hazlett 19 7 45
Lauren Gibb 12 7 31
Kim Dorr 11 5 27
Gracie Slater 4 11 19
Sarah Byron 6 4 16
Julia DeVere 3 8 14
Leigha Schjelderup 5 2 12
Lauren Wallace 3 5 11
Rachel Dorr 2 3 7
Jackie Dierdorff 2 2 6
Zoe Peterson 3 0 6
Lizzy Herda 2 1 5
Andrea DeVere 1 2 4
Michelle Saunders 1 1 3
Summer Allen 1 0 2
Lauren Eckert 0 2 2
SQUALICUM'S 2012 ROSTER
No. Player Yr. Pos.
1 Kim Hazlett Fr. F
2 Julia DeVere So. M
3 Lauren Wallace Sr. D
4 Jackie Dierdorff So. D
5 Leigha Schjelderup Sr. M
6 Andrea DeVere Sr. M
7 Michelle Saunders So. M
8 Zoe Peterson Sr. F
9 Gracie Slater Jr. F
10 Lauren Gibb Jr. M
12 Sarah Byron So. F
13 Payton McNally So. D
14 Rachel Dorr Fr. D
15 Lizzy Herda Jr. M
16 Kim Dorr Fr. M
17 Summer Allen Sr. D
19 Shelby Spooner So. GK
61 Lauren Eckert Jr. GK
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.