Defeat is one thing. What Sehome did to Bellingham was something far more painful.
Or more accurately, what Bryce Sherif did to the Red Raiders Tuesday night, Sept, 16, at Civic Stadium in both teams’ Northwest Conference opener, stinging Bellingham with three goals — one in the final seconds of the game — lifting the Mariners to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory.
The Red Raiders conjured some late magic with a Morgan Jones goal in the 76th minute to tie the game at 3-all, prefacing Sherif’s free kick from 30 yards out that left many in attendance shocked.
“It’s so weird being a defender. I don’t get the opportunity to get at the goal,” Sherif said. “Those free kicks were just really fun to put in the back of the net. I don’t know what got into me.”
Sherif, moments earlier, had seen the momentum shift to Bellingham. Jones’ goal was a simple one-on-one with Sehome keeper Nicole Carlson, with Jones beating her low and to the left.
But nothing seemed impossible given the circumstances.
Sehome faced a 2-0 deficit following back-to-back Brooke Baker goals in the second and 19th minute, foreshadowing what looked to be a Bellingham route.
Then came Sherif’s first goal - a line drive free kick over Chloe Campbell’s outstretched arms in the 32nd minute — and her second — an improbably loft from the far-left sideline that skied high into the air before falling into the back-right corner of the net just before halftime.
“We were kind of hell-bent on playing really up-tempo the first 10 minutes, and I thought we did that,” Bellingham coach Mark Wright said. “We put a whole bunch of pressure on them and got all those looks. ... But then for us to give up those two goals before the half, it really changed the emotion going into the locker room.”
Devin Grahn’s stinging liner from the top of the box past Campbell gave Sehome its first lead at 3-2 in the 47th minute. The Mariners stole all the Red Raiders’ energy and were exploiting the midfield, which is typically a Bellingham strength.
“Just their perseverance. That’s what I’m most proud of,” Sehome coach Andria Fountain said. “They didn’t give up even when they fell behind. They kept their energy up and focus, and I’m glad it paid off because from here on out they know they can do it — come out on top even when they are behind.”
Bellingham, like in the two teams’ first match-up a week ago on Sept. 9, controlled the flow of the game early. Sehome was content with counter-punching, but the Mariners provided a more fluid attack and were able to string longer possessions together, something they struggled with seven days ago.
And while the loss puts the Red Raiders at 0-1 in conference, this is their fourth loss in a row to open the season. It doesn’t get any easier facing Squalicum on Thursday night.
“It’s hard for us. When the schedule came out in the spring it was murderer’s row,” Wright said. “We have tough game after tough game after tough game.”
Strong performances haven’t necessarily equaled victories for Wright and his club, which is coming off of a run to the state championship a year ago. Sehome, which fell to the Red Raiders in districts, is now 2-2 (1-0 NWC), both wins coming against Bellingham, and will face Lynden at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Northwest Soccer Park.
Sehome 4, Bellingham 3