BELLINGHAM - The question of how Squalicum would rebound against Sehome following a season-opening loss to its city nemesis two weeks ago was quickly answered Thursday, Sept. 26, at Civic Stadium.
In fact, the Storm gave an emphatic response in 18 seconds. That's how long it took for the Storm to earn the opening kickoff, get the ball to Kim Dorr, then Kim Hazlett and then put the ball in the back of Sehome's goal.
Forget about a set play. Storm coach David Kish said the early goal was sheer determination.
"That's them wanting to win," he said. "Absolutely they wanted to redeem themselves from the first game, and that's what they showed. They came out fired up, and they wanted to win."
Dorr scored herself early in the second half, and senior captain Gracie Slater iced the game with two fantastic goals in the final five minutes to lead Squalicum to a 4-1 Northwest Conference win.
The Mariners (4-2-1, 3-1-0 NWC), who are working with a largely depleted roster after losing nearly all of their starters to graduation, pulled out a 4-3 win over an ultra-talented Squalicum club during the team's non-conference meeting. The sequel was all Storm.
"We lost but then it was just motivation for us," Slater said "It was in the second half in our first game against Sehome when we came out in the first three minutes and scored two goals, and we just wanted to do that again in the first half and we did it."
Hazlett, Dorr, Slater, Sarah Byron, Lauren Gibb and Michelle Saunders were key in the attack. They helped Squalicum put 16 shots on goal compared to Sehome's four.
The Storm (4-1-1, 3-0-0) could have added more goals if it weren't for the strong play of Sehome keeper Hannah Lauffer, who made several impressive saves.
Even though only 14 days have passed since the two teams last met, Kish and his club credited the victory to Squalicum's ability to come together in a short period of time. The absence of Sehome midfielder Emily Webster, who was sidelined due to a plantar fasciitis foot injury and was seen on crutches, undoubtedly benefitted the Storm as well.
"Beginning of the season, we were defense, midfield and forwards," Slater said. "Now we have one team, and we are meshing really well. We had units, but now we are connecting really well."
And it showed. Whether it was a speedy run from Hazlett, an intelligent through ball out the midfield or simply a crafty passing sequence to open up Sehome's defense, Squalicum's chemistry was on display throughout.
In spite of Squalicum's inspired play, Sehome still found itself in the game late thanks to a score from senior Marie Kochman in the 66th minute off an assist from Stefanie Mindnich. Kochman controlled the ball in Squalicum's box and sent a shot of the right post and in to cut the Storm's lead to 2-1.
Then Slater, who's been working with Kish since she was a freshman, amazed her coach once more with two top-class scores to put the game out of reach.
First Slater ripped a bouncing shot past Lauffer into the right side of the goal from 30 yards out in the 74th minute when it looked as if she were going to pass. Six minutes later, she sent another jaw-dropper past Lauffer into the upper half of the net.
"She never ceases to amaze me," Kish laughed.
Sehome coach Andria Fountain was proud of how her team hung with Squalicum, but she was hoping her group would've created more scoring chances.
"It felt like it was a closer game than what the score was at the end," Fountain said. "I felt like our defense was holding (its) own, and we did pretty well. We just didn't get our offense going as much as I'd like to. It's something we are still working on."
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
SQUALICUM 4, SEHOME 1
Scoring: Goal: Kim Hazlett (Squalicum), assist: Kim Dorr, time: 1; Goal: Kim Dorr (Squalicum), assist: Michelle Saunders, time: 44; Goal: Marie Kochman (Sehome), assist: Stefanie Mindnich, time: 66; Goal: Gracie Slater (Squalicum), time: 74; Goal: Gracie Slater (Squalicum), assist: Lauren Gibb, time: 80. Shots on goal: Sehome 4; Squalicum 16. Goalies (saves): Sehome: Hannah Lauffer (12); Squalicum: Bailey Canup (3).
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.