BELLINGHAM - The Squalicum Storm will be going to the state tournament for the second time in as many years.
"We made it to state last year for the first time in over 10 years," coach David Kish said. "This year our goal was to make it to state, so it's awesome."
The Storm defeated Burlington-Edison 1-0 on Tuesday, Nov. 5, to put Squalicum into the Class 2A Bi-District Tournament.
Michelle Saunders gave the Storm its only goal with 15 minutes left in the first half when she drove a shot low and past the goalkeeper. The goal started with a scrum in the box on a corner kick, but its way found - after some contested play in the penalty area - out to Saunders, who was sitting 25 yards out. It was a green light to pull the trigger from there and the Storm benefitted.
"I saw a teammate running toward it and I yelled, 'Leave it, it's mine,'" Saunders said.
Saunders was the trailing runner on the play, a run that often goes unrewarded, but its something that the Storm have been working on.
"She is usually the one that makes those runs and takes those shots," Kish said. "She doesn't score often, but she did tonight and it was really special."
Kim Hazlett almost put the Storm up by two goals 10 minutes into the second half after a through ball from Lauren Gibb left Hazlett wide open in front of the posts. She tried to find the corner, but found the wrong side of the post and it bounced out of play.
The best chance for the Tigers to even things up came shortly after. Burlington-Edison found its way into the box and met Storm goalkeeper Lauren Eckert at the six-yard box. Eckert made the first and second saves amid the cluster of players. Then the ball kicked out to Edie Breckenridge whose shot went high.
The second half didn't produce any goals and was played in the middle of the field for the most part. The Storm took only one shot on goal in the second half compared with the Tigers' three. The first half was an entirely different story.
It was all Squalicum in the first 40 minutes as the Storm dominated possession and used its attacking speed to find the space on the outside and feed the ball in from there.
The Storm's attack looked dangerous early when Hazlett found Kim Dorr up the sideline. Dorr dropped it back to Gracie Slater, who fired a shot to the upper corner of the goal, but it was saved by Burlington-Edison goalkeeper Kioko Soneda in the third minute.
Gibb also found herself open several times on the wing in the early minutes but couldn't find the net. Her best opportunity came in the sixth minute when a through ball from Hazlett put Gibb in front of the goal with just the keeper to beat, but her first touch went long and Soneda picked it up.
The attacking, fast-paced play died down late in the half, with more fouls being called than scoring chances created.
The Storm had six shots on goal in the first half and eight fouls. The Storm's attack also generated eight corner kicks in the first half.
Burlington-Edison was unable to get a shot on target in the first half and struggled to keep the ball in the Tigers attacking side of the field.
With the win, the Storm will play the winner between Archbishop Murphy and Lake Washington. That match will be on Saturday, Nov. 9, at Sultan High School. The Storm will be battling for the first or second seed.
Burlington-Edison isn't out, though. The Tigers play Sehome on Thursday, Nov. 7.
SQUALICUM 1, BURLINGTON-EDISON 0
Scoring: Goal: Michelle Saunders (SHS), time: 25; Shots on Goal: Squalicum 7, Burlington-Edison 3; Saves: Lauren Eckert (3) Squalicum; Kioko Soneda (6) Burlington Edison