The Squalicum girls’ soccer team logged its 10th shutout of the season Saturday, Nov. 1, against Sedro-Woolley in the the first round of the Class 2A Northwest District Tournament, but the defense barely had to break a sweat after warmups.
The Storm’s offense, meanwhile, generated five goals and an impressive 16 shots on goal, but it wasn’t the story either.
Like a good sandwich, the catalyst of Squalicum’s 5-0 first-round win at Civic Stadium was what was in between.
With their play Saturday, midfielders Julia DeVere, Sarah Byron, Sarah Hulbert and Annie Roth helped the Storm dominate a Cubs team that was making its first appearance in the 2A district tournament and playing its first postseason game since 2009.
“I ask a lot of my midfielders,” Storm coach David Kish said. “I have four of them I kind of run through a rotation. They’re the unsung heroes. They’re all important to our defense. They’re part of the reason, along with Michelle (Saunders) and my other defenders that we have allowed only eight goals this season. A lot of people look at those forwards, but I want to give a lot of credit to my midfielders for getting them the ball and my defenders for getting another shutout.”
Though the midfield’s play was tremendous, there was plenty of credit to go around on Saturday, as the Storm (16-0-1) moves on to the semifinals of the district tournament, where it will host Bellingham on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Squalicum goalie Bailey Canup answered with a nice save the only time she was tested, leaping high to bat away a shot on a free kick from about 30 yards out just 11/2 minutes into the second half, but that was the only time the Cubs got within the same zip code as Squalicum’s net.
The Storm midfielders simply never let them posses the ball in Squalicum’s end of the field, as they controlled the ball throughout, won most 50-50 balls and fed their forwards for countless scoring opportunities.
“We like to posses the ball,” Kish said. “The girls would say we like to play pretty soccer. I think it took us a little while to get into our rhythm today, but once we found it, I thought we did a good job stretching the other team and finding our forwards and letting them do their thing.”
The Storm started doing their thing just 151/2 minutes in, when Julia DeVere ripped a shot that Sedro keeper Charmaine DeWit dove to save, but the ball landed at the feet of Braeden Hilleary who laced a shot to the lower left corner of the net.
Eight minutes later, junior forward Kim Dorr found herself deep in Sedro’s end of the field along the right wing. The Cubs defense collapsed on her, and she rifled a shot to Byron near the top of the box.
“This year I’ve been working on not giving up on the ball,” Dorr said. “I just pushed up and dribbled. I’ve been trying not to take too many shots that are low percentage shots, and I saw Sarah calling for it in the middle.”
Byron one touched the pass and sent a laser that DeWit didn’t have a chance at.
“Sarah is a hidden gem,” Kish said. “She’s had some really spectacular shots this year. ... She has it in her.”
Dorr also had a goal in her, as she put back another rebounded shot off the foot of Payton Fowler approximately 30 seconds before halftime to make the score 3-0.
Fowler added a pair of goals in the second half off assists from Jessica DeVere and Annie Roth to put the game away and start Squalicum’s quest to reach the state’s final four for a third straight year in impressive fashion.
“It gives us a lot of confidence and shows us what we can do as team,” Dorr said. “I’m just so excited to see what we can do together.”
Squalicum 5, Sedro-Woolley 0