BELLINGHAM - The Squalicum girls' soccer team was as unrelenting as the pouring rain on a wet and frigid afternoon at Civic Stadium.
But despite the miserable conditions, the Storm defeated Lakewood High School 5-0 on Saturday, Nov.2, in the Class 2A Girls' Soccer Bi-District Tournament, securing their place in a second-round match against Burlington-Edison on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
If there ever was a more fitting scene, it would be the Storm's keeper, Lauren Eckert, bouncing around the 20-yard line trying to keep warm with five minutes remaining in the match. That was about all the action either one of Squalicum's keepers saw against Lakewood, who conjured just two shots on goal the entire match.
"Once they tried to press into our defense, the girls shut them down," Squalicum coach David Kish said.
The Storm's defense entered its first-round matchup having only allowed 11 goals through 16 games, and it showed no intention of letting Lakewood add to that total.
And as able as Squalicum's defense was at disarming any legitimate threats, its offense could only be characterized as lethal.
Kim Dorr scored the Storm's first goal in the 17th minute off an assist from Lauren Gibb. Gibb brought the ball up the left side and touched a pass toward Dorr in the middle of the box, who corralled it and placed a left-footed grounder to the right post past a diving Lakewood keeper.
"That was a beautiful goal," Kish said.
The goal was also a perfect image of what Kish wants to see from his girls moving forward, having them play off one another to create better opportunities.
"It's about playing as a team," Kish said. "We're not relying on any individual player. It's all about the team."
Dorr would find the back of the net again in the 37th minute when she shrugged off a pursuing defender to finish with a grounding shot to the right post.
"The team we played came out really physically, especially in the defense," Dorr said. "I was really going for it in the second goal, and I just saw the opening and took advantage of it."
Squalicum's depth on the scoring end might not have been evident following Dorr's first two goals, but as the matched progressed, the Storm's aggressiveness wore down the Cougars' back line.
Kim Hazlett's unassisted goal early in the second half on a one-step, plant and shoot from 15 yards out was telling of how potent Squalicum's attack can be at any place on the field.
"We have so much talent up top and just everywhere on the field," Dorr said. "One thing that I feel our team is the best in, is that universal skill level. We don't have just certain people that make it happen. ... No matter who is playing or who is on the field, we can depend on them to get the job done and play really well."
Kish reiterated Dorr's sentiment, knowing that teams have to pick their poison, so to speak, when defending Squalicum.
"They can mark whoever they want. We have so many threats," Kish said.
Braeden Hilleary added a goal of her own that was opened up by a well-timed leading pass from Hazlett. Hazlett grabbed possession around midfield, outran her defender and hit a crisp pass 20 yards ahead of Hilleary, who was running down the right side. Hilleary gathered possession, dribbled the ball once and kicked it over the head of Lakewood's keeper from only a few yards away.
Sarah Byron put in the final goal of the match in the 78th minute, firmly giving Squalicum the 5-0 win.
Weather, Kish said, has a way of being the great "equalizer," but seeing his team perform as it did amid the conditions was a welcome sight. That, and his team was able to control much of the match due to crisp, purposeful passing that rarely saw the Cougars' feet.
"We don't like to play 'Boot Ball,' we don't like to just boot the ball out of the back," Kish said. "We want to play good soccer. We want to pass and move, and possess the ball as much possible."
Reach Alex Bigelow at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-715-2238. Follow on Twitter @bhampsorts for other Whatcom County sports news
SQUALICUM 5, LAKEWOOD 0
Scoring: Goal: Kim Dorr (Squalicum), Assist: Lauren Gibb, Time: 17:00; Goal: Kim Dorr (Squalicum), Assist: NA, Time: 37; Goal: Kim Hazlett (Squalicum), Assist: NA, Time: 46:00; Goal: Braeden Hilleary (Squalicum); Assist: Kim Hazlett, Time: 65:00; Goal: Sarah Byron (Squalicum); Assist: NA, Time: 77:00. Shots on goal: Lakewood 2, Squalicum 13. Saves: Jennaka Larson (Lakewood) 6; Bailey Canup/Lauren Eckert (Squalicum) 1.