BELLINGHAM - Sehome's defense is predicated around its goalie, senior Hannah Lauffer, being aggressive.
Lauffer's willingness to abandon the goal and pursue a ball late in the first half against Lake Washington near the outer edge of the box led to a collision and a timely save. As has been the case all season, Lauffer sprung up after winning the one-on-one, and the Lake Washington player writhed in pain for several minutes before being helped off the field and later taken to the hospital for further medical treatment.
That save kept Lake Washington's lead to one, but that same aggressiveness and defensive mentality that has done so well for the Mariners this season is what led to their demise, inevitably giving the Kangs the game-winning goal they needed to seal the 2-1 win on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Civic Stadium in the District 1 2A Girls' Soccer Tournament.
Sehome remains alive, and will face the loser of the Bellingham-Archbishop Murphy match on Tuesday, Nov. 5.
In the 64th minute, with the match tied 1-1, Lake Washington played a ball toward Lauffer, forcing her to make a decision to leave the net and pursue, or let senior defender Alia Jones chase it down and cast away the threat. Lauffer broke toward the ball, with Jones still in pursuit in the middle of the field, and as Lauffer cleared the ball, the two collided. The collision gave Lake Washington's McKenna Ferrera enough time to line up a shot from 25 yards out that floated through the air just beyond the outstretched fingertips of a diving Lauffer.
"It was just a little bit of a miscommunication," Lauffer said.
Sehome coach Andria Fountain has given Lauffer the final say as to whether or not she leaves the net to pursue that ball, and in that instance, Fountain just thought the two weren't on the same page.
"Most of that is Hannah coming out and calling it, and my defense letting it go," Fountain said. "This ended up being the other way around, with my defender playing it, she called for Hannah to come get it, and Hannah wasn't ready."
If not for that one misplay, Sehome and Lake Washington had battled back in forth in a match that looked destined for a shootout.
The Kangs got on the board first in the 30th minute when Taylor Sekyra chipped in a shot from two yards out over Lauffer. Sekyra was merely the recipient of a tremendous run and pass by Emily Bunnell, who beat a Sehome defender around the edge along the backline, leading to a pass directly to Sekyra's feet.
Sehome wouldn't answer back until the 61st minute when Stefanie Mindnich recovered a timely bobble from Lake Washington's keeper. The Kangs' Maeve O'Connor sprinted out of net to recover the long pass, but as she slid to grasp it, the ball popped out of her clutches directly to Mindnich, who coasted a shot into the empty net.
And for as strong a game Lauffer played in preventing Lake Washington from scoring more than the two goals, the Kangs' defense was able to hold the Mariners to only four shots on goal the entire match.
"We really never got our rhythm going," Fountain said. "I think we sat back and watched how they played a little bit longer than we probably should've. We probably should have gone in and played our game."
Particularly frustrating for Fountain was watching her team fail to maintain possession of the ball. Opportunities aside, she thought her defense in particular was playing passes that were too long, finding more Lake Washington players than Sehome players.
"It doesn't help if we are paying it to the other team instead of our own team," Fountain said.
Reach Alex Bigelow at email@example.com or 360-715-2238. Follow on Twitter @bhampsorts for other Whatcom County sports news
LAKE WASHINGTON 2, SEHOME 1
Scoring: Goal: Taylor Sekyra (Lake Washington), Assist: Emily Bunnell, Time: 30:00; Goal: Stefanie Mindnich (Sehome), Assist: NA, Time: 61:00; Goal: McKenna Ferrera (Lake Washington), Assist: NA, Time: 64:00. Shots on goal: Lake Washington 11, Sehome 4. Saves: Maeve O'Connor (Lake Washington) 2; Hannah Lauffer (Sehome) 9.