BELLINGHAM - After suiting up for well over 100 soccer games at Sehome, Hannah Lauffer was more than hungry for her first varsity victory in goal.
She acknowledged, in fact, she was pretty much starved for a win.
Lauffer showed just how voracious she was with five clutch second-half saves in the Mariners' 4-3 non-league victory over Squalicum on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the first girls' game on Civic Stadium's beautiful new Sprinturf field.
Fellow senior Alia Jones, meanwhile, had played in many Sehome wins, but never as a defender.
Both Jones and Lauffer displayed physical and mental grit, however, after the Storm grabbed a stunning 3-2 lead in the opening three minutes of the second half with header goals by sophomores Kim Dorr and Kim Hazlett off accurate free kicks by Lauren Gibb.
"I am so very happy for Hannah," said Sehome coach Andria Fountain, whose young but potent team seemed to display the potential for her eighth consecutive state tournament berth in as many seasons as coach, including trophy-winning finishes of first, second and third.
"That girl has put more time into our program than anyone the last three years, suiting up for junior varsity and varsity games," Fountain said. "Hannah has just been so amazingly patient. I said that no matter what, Hannah's going to get a shot."
Lauffer, of course, was stuck for three years behind four-year standout keeper Rachel Albert, now on a basketball scholarship at Western Washington University.
Lauffer, who suffered a 2-1 loss in Sehome's opener to Ferndale two days earlier, said she felt her team's potentially potent offense would save her following the two header goals in unusual night heat near 80 degrees.
"I felt I should have stopped the second (header) goal, but I also felt our team could catch up," said Lauffer. "This is such an awesome feeling, to get that first win."
Jones' emotions were similar.
"This is just a crazy feeling," Jones, an erstwhile forward, said of how she helped hold off speed-blessed Squalicum in its opener. "But I don't care where I play, as long as we win. And I like it, that now I'm playing the position my sister Kaya did for four years on the varsity."
In the final 37 minutes, Sehome's defense limited the Storm to six shots on goal, five of which Lauffer was challenged to stop. Jones was right in the middle of that defense at sweeper -- Fountain's idea.
Sehome tied the game at 3-3 in the 60th minute on a high-arc goal by sophomore Abby Webster, who has joined senior sister Emily Webster on the soccer team after running cross country last year.
The Mariners scored the winning goal in the 69th minute on a 35-yard boomer by senior Marie Kochman, who was the fourth different Sehome scorer.
Emily Webster, who led the Class 2A state runner-up Mariners with 21 goals last year, gave Sehome a 2-1 lead four minutes before halftime with a 25-yard power goal. Sehome's Ashley Mindnich scored on a short power shot off her own steal five minutes into the game, but Dorr equalized in the 15th minute off an assist by Hazlett.
"I thought our new goalkeeper, sophomore Bailey Canup, was outstanding in her first game," Storm coach David Kish said. "There was no way she could have stopped those Sehome high goals."
Both goalkeepers finished with seven saves as the Mariners and Storm, each state Final Four qualifiers last year, again looked as though they have the potential to advance that far.
In fact, in their three matchups last season, the rivals scored only four goals each as they tied 2-2 in the non-league game, followed by Northwest Conference champion Sehome's 1-0 win in the league showdown and Squalicum's 2-1 victory in the Northwest District title game.
Despite its high level of varsity experience, the Storm started only three seniors. Sehome, which lost nine regulars, opened with five seniors - girls like Lauffer who are hungry.
"It's her time," Fountain said of Lauffer, but she could have said it of the other seniors, all of whom except Emily Webster have been often overshadowed by graduated stars.
Squalicum, in contrast, has its top six scorers back led by the whippet fast Hazlett, who scored 19 goals as a freshman and looked dangerous every time down the field Thursday night.
SEHOME 4, SQUALICUM 3
Scoring: Goal: Ashley Mindnich (Se); time: 5; Goal: Kim Dorr (Sq); assist: Kim Hazlett; time: 15; Goal: Emily Webster (Se); time: 36; Goal: Hazlett (Sq); assist: Lauren Gibb; time: 41; Goal: Dorr (Sq); assist: Gibb; time, 43; Goal: Abby Webster (Se); time: 60; Goal: Marie Kochman; time: 69. Shots on goal: Sehome 12, Squalicum 17. Goalkeepers (saves): Hannah Lauffer (Se) 7; Bailey Canup (Sq) 7.