BELLINGHAM - For Lynden Christian's boys' soccer team, the school's most recent win in state competition had been ancient history.
So the Lyncs made history they and their fellow students could appreciate with a 2-0 victory over a quick Seton Catholic team in the opening round of the Class 1A State Tournament on Tuesday, May 14, at Civic Stadium.
Coach Brent De Ruyter said each season has been "a blessing" since his team's state victory over Sultan on the same turf in a never-to-be-forgotten 22-man shootout when he was a rookie head coach in 2002.
This season, though, continues to be special for the Lyncs, who are 5-1 in the postseason and 13-6-3 overall after posting a 4-4 mark in the first half of the regular season.
LC announced it will play on Saturday, May 18, at 3 p.m. at Whatcom Community College against either Seattle Academy or White Salmon.
"Our defense was just stellar," De Ruyter said of the Lyncs' shutout effort, noting that Seton Catholic's Erik Powell came in with "50-plus goals and a wicked left foot," along with an invitation to walk-on as a football kicker at Washington State University.
After a scoreless first half, LC's offense was brilliant in the first six minutes of the second half as a large Lyncs crowd burst into appreciative cheers. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Brady Harvey, one of seven starting seniors, was steady throughout with six saves.
Sophomore midfielder Cody Fransen scored in the first minute of the second half on a power shot from the right-side 5-yard line off a long cross from Luke Reardon. It was Reardon's ninth assist.
"I saw Luke in the middle and I started making my run," said Fransen. "I was pretty sure he would find me. It was a great ball."
Five minutes later, Fransen made it 2-0 with a classic goal on a header off a corner kick from junior Trevor Kamena, giving the aggressive, mobile Franson 13 goals.
"Cody read it (the corner kick) well," said Kamena. "That was our first goal of the season directly off a corner kick."
The Lyncs dominated the second half, outshooting the Vancouver school 10-6 and forcing Seton goalie Dylan Cole to make six saves in the final 40 minutes.
"Seton Catholic (which is in its fourth year of existence) presented a lot of issues for us," said De Ruyter. "Their work rate was very good and they made us really battle for all 80 minutes. Our kids gave it their all, especially in the second half. We wore them down when we stretched the field."
Harvey preserved the shutout with a perfectly timed leap in front of the goal to knock a difficult bouncing ball over the bar in the 68th minute.
As De Ruyter stressed, Harvey indeed received "stellar" back-line support from Trevor Dalla Santa, Hunter Weinert, sophomore Liam Kroontje and John Van Dalen, each of whom took turns frustrating the talented Powell.
Toby Dalla Santa and Reardon kept the ball moving up front. With any luck, the score could have been 4-0 or 5-0, since Fransen, Reardon and Toby Dalla Santa showed the moves that have combined for a remarkable 96 points among the trio (37 goals and 22 assists).
They have helped power the Lyncs to a 15-3 goal advantage in the playoffs.
Fransen, Kamena and LC's other starting midfielders, Ben Knibbe and Colin Robinson, made sure the ball was on the Lyncs' side of the turf more often than not.
"They really were a good team," Fransen said of Seton Catholic. "Our coaches told us we were probably the most prepared team in the playoffs after playing in such a strong league."
Kamena agreed that the Northwest Conference made the Lyncs so much tougher than if they had played in a 1A league.
"We play in one of the best leagues in the state, against all sorts of different teams and different styles," Kamena said. "We feel we're ready for it (the playoffs)."
LYNDEN CHRISTIAN 2, SETON CATHOLIC 0
Scoring: Goal: Cody Fransen; assist: Luke Reardon; time: 41:00; Goal: Fransen; assist: Trevor Kamena; time: 46:00. Shots on goal: Lynden Christian 15, Seton Catholic 11. Goalkeepers (saves): Lynden Christian: Brady Harvey (6); Seton Catholic: Dylan Cole (7).