ARLINGTON – Ferndale’s girls’ soccer team had already made history. The Golden Eagles just wanted more; they wanted a state berth.
But an overtime goal spelled a 2-1 loss to Arlington Saturday, Nov. 8, at Arlington High School, in the Class 3A district consolation final.
A win would have meant Ferndale’s first state trip in school history. Instead, the Golden Eagles bid farewell to the illustrious careers of Jordin Bartel and Carly Bannerman.
“I’ve coached both of them for a long time,” said Ferndale coach Joe Gonzalez, who has no difficulty showing his emotion. “This was my last high school game with them. It’s sad.”
Bartel ended her final season with 23 goals, the last coming in the first half Saturday.
Katelyn Neher got the ball in the middle of the field, fed it to Jazlynn Ahrens, who crossed it over to Bartel.
Of course, Bartel had no trouble finding the net.
“It was perfect,” Bartel said. “It was something you’d see on TV.”
The score at the time evened the game at 1-1 after Arlington’s Mckenzie Buell put the Eagles in front in the third minute.
It would be back and forth from there in a very physical, attack-heavy game. There were 22 shots on goal and 28 fouls between the two teams.
Ferndale controlled the second half, but overtime leaned back to Arlington and the Eagles finally found the net when a corner managed to fall into a sea of players and Buell pushed it home.
“There’s not a whole lot to say,” Gonzalez said. “They played their hearts out and we came up short.”
Despite losing Bannerman, Bartel, Shelby Slaughter, Leigh Sund and Dalaynie Holt to graduation, the Golden Eagles know there’s something to build upon after a season in which Ferndale won two district games for the first time ever.
Throughout the playoffs and regular season, the Golden Eagles had plenty of underclassmen step up, including goalkeeper Rachel Neher – who made eight saves Saturday – Katelyn Neher, Ahrens, Christiana Salinas and Jillian Monson.
“We just keep growing. We’ve got a great group of girls and we know it,” Gonzalez said. “We have something for next year and that’s high quality. We’re really looking forward to that.”
Gonzalez let his players know those sentiments after the game. In the locker room after honoring the seniors, Gonzalez had the seniors step out and talk to the underclassmen.
“This is your team next year. We’ve lost players but we don’t quit,” Gonzalez told his players. “We just keep growing.”
But that’s all hard to digest right now, Gonzalez admitted only minutes after the defeat.
The players too hadn’t had time to digest what just happened.
“I haven’t really had time to think about it,” Bannerman said. “We worked hard and it sucks, but I’m proud.”
And that’s something this Ferndale team did better than anyone – work hard. Whether it was Rachel’s stretch save in overtime that kept the match going just a little longer or Bartel’s fiery, unrelenting play up top, nobody could say Ferndale didn’t leave it all on the field.
“We played really hard this game. Everyone gave it their all,” Bartel said. “I’m happy for the girls because everyone put their hearts into it.”
But even the best seasons come to an end and Ferndale’s ended with a 12-6-2 record and a fourth-place district finish.
For Bartel and Bannerman, their time playing soccer together doesn’t end Saturday. The two are on the same Whatcom Rangers team that they’ll pick up in the spring.
After that, Bannerman is verbally committed to play soccer at Saint Martin’s University, while Bartel is set to go to Western Oregon University.
Their college careers will likely pit the two against each other in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, where the forward Bartel could matchup against the defender Bannerman.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to be their coach and build a program with them,” Gonzalez said “They’ll be big time missed.”
Arlington 2, Ferndale 1 (OT)