BELLINGHAM - Squalicum soccer coach Joe McAuliffe knew it was a matter of time until shot to goal percentages began working in the Storm's favor.
Odds started to level when Squalicum needed it most.
"For us, we've been out-shooting our opponents consistently," McAuliffe said. "The last game we lost 3-1, they had three shots and one of them was a PK, so everyone has had a better finishing percentage than us, so it was nice tonight to be on the other side."
Squalicum and Sehome entered their Northwest Conference match Tuesday, March 26, both craving a win after failing to produce victories during each club's previous two contests. Though it's early in the season, a spot in the bottom half of the table is abnormal positioning for two of Whatcom County's perennial soccer powerhouses.
Just when it appeared Squalicum's string of missed chances would continue, Storm sophomore Quinn Carpenter started a barrage of goals with a 52nd minute scoring strike to help Squalicum earn a 4-0 confidence-boosting win against Sehome at Civic Stadium.
It was welcome revenge following the Mariners' 2-1 win in the final moments against the Storm in a non-league match 12 days ago.
"It was big," said Carpenter of the win, "because we lost last time we played these guys. We knew we could beat them. We just didn't perform to the expectations we have for ourselves. This time it was good to get the goal and get the pace going."
Carpenter scored twice, and junior Gabe Guidroz also scored two times, but it was Carpenter's first goal that sparked Squalicum (3-2-1, 1-1-1 NWC).
The Storm couldn't get a ball past Sehome keeper Izzy Taft in the first half, despite seven chances. Sehome (3-4-1, 1-3-0) also put together some scoring opportunities without a result.
Ten minutes into the second half, Squalicum's Cory Brunhaver and Arne Peterson provided foreshadowing with a clinical sequence moments before Carpenter's first goal.
Brunhaver and Peterson connected four to five passes together while working across the middle of Sehome's defense to the right side of the field. Brunhaver's final pass to Peterson gave the Storm junior a scoring chance from 10 yards out. Peterson tried to chip Taft as he charged, but Peterson's shot deflected off the right post and back into play.
Adam Smiley found open space moments later and blasted a shot from 25 yards out that ricocheted again off the right post. This time, the ball found Carpenter, who blasted a shot inside into the top right corner from 15 yards out to give the Storm a 1-0 advantage.
"That kind of got rid of the negative juju," McAuliffe said. "You see one of those (sequences), and it's like, 'What is it going to take?'"
The Storm's attacking persistence paid off during the next 20 minutes.
Guidroz finished a beautiful back-heel pass from Peterson in the 62nd minute to put Squalicum in front 2-0, and BJ James lofted a lead pass to Carpenter for another score in the 69th minute.
Guidroz pulled off a top class double move on a Sehome defender, cutting the back from the left to right side and then to the right again before scoring from 15 yards out to seal the win in the 73rd minute.
"They got one, and Squalicum has always been good at that," Sehome coach John Sylvester said. "They know how to score after they score or another team scores, and they took full advantage of that today."
Sylvester said his young, talented defense suffered some mental lapses in the second half. It's a pattern the Mariners coach has seen the last few matches.
"We are starting to see a pattern now, watching these last three to four matches where we've had similar troubles," he said. "We are starting to see our back line is breaking down halfway through the second half. They are really good players, but they are young. We have to find a way to give them more help in the back. That's what we learned tonight."
Squalicum travels to play Meridian next at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, while Sehome hosts Ferndale at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Civic Stadium.
Reach Andrew Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-756-2862.
SQUALICUM 4, SEHOME 0
Scoring: Goal: Quinn Carpenter (Squalicum), time: 52; Goal: Gabe Guidroz (Squalicum), assist: Arne Peterson, time: 62; Goal: Quinn Carpenter (Squalicum), assist: BJ James, time: 69; Goal: Gabe Guidroz (Squalicum), time: 73. Shots on goal: Squalicum 13; Sehome 4. Goalies (saves): Squalicum: Zach Hart/Trenton Langer (4); Sehome: Izzy Taft (7).
Reach ANDREW LANG at email@example.com or call ext. 862.