It’s only a rumor that after 20 soccer games, undefeated Squalicum plays with 20 girls on the turf at the same time.
Yet in the wake of the Storm’s smothering 5-0 win over Olympic in the opening round of the Class 2A State Tournament on Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Civic Stadium, it all makes sense to coach David Kish.
“We have 10 girls playing offense and 10 girls playing defense,” said Kish, who teaches math.
It was the veteran coach’s way of saying his team is playing thoroughly dominating, unselfish — not to mention stylish — soccer at both ends of the field, as shown by the Storm’s 15-0 advantage with seven different scorers in four postseason games.
However, Squalicum (19-0-1) may well get a tougher test in the quarterfinals Saturday at Civic Stadium (the time will likely be either 1 or 3 p.m., athletic director Patrick Brown said).
The Storm’s opponent will be the Hockinson Hawks, who have scored 76 goals and surrendered 23 after beating North Kitsap 2-1 Tuesday.
“I really think our best stat is not the goals we’ve scored (now 82 after junior Kim Hazlett turned in a hat trick against Olympic), but the goals we have prevented,” said senior midfielder Sarah Byron.
Olympic (15-5-1), which has lost only to state tournament qualifiers, became Squalicum’s 13th shutout victim. The Storm has allowed only eight goals, and only Sehome has scored more than one, in a 2-2 Northwest Conference tie.
The game was one of the coldest girls’ soccer matches in recent local memory. At kickoff, the temperature was about four degrees above freezing, and it only got worse.
“This is the most drastically sudden change to cold we’ve seen,” said Byron, noting how much warmer the Storm’s district title game was five days earlier. “But you only real feel it once you stop running.”
The Storm, as usual, never seemed to tire and never seemed to stop moving at full speed.
“We just work really hard on playing as a team,” said senior midfielder Julia DeVere. “We have so much individual skill, it would be easy to be playing less like a team than we do. But we find we play better when we play together.”
The Storm’s first three goals were all classic examples of slick teamwork.
DeVere scored two minutes into the game on a pretty header cross from junior Kim Dorr. In the 15th minute, Hazlett made it 2-0 when she took an accurate cross from Dorr as both raced close to the goal mouth. Then, not long after the second half began, Hazlett headed home a booming, accurate corner kick by senior defender Michelle Saunders.
At that point, it was just up to Squalicum’s “iron back line” of Saunders, fellow senior captain Jackie Dierdorff, sophomore Kelly Anderson and freshman Olivia Benner to make sure nothing got through.
“Our back line played the whole game tonight, as usual. And as always, they just battled and battled,” said Byron. “Olivia is only a freshman, but she did a great job.”
Hazlett, who coming in had not had a postseason goal this season, said that didn’t bother her because even though she may be the team scoring leader, she’s far from the only potent scoring threat.
“I enjoyed getting the chance to set my teammates up (in their three district playoff wins),” she said.
How many goals does Hazlett have?
“I really don’t know,” she said with a laugh. “I’m lousy at numbers.”
“Hey, that’s my fault,” Kish said with a laugh, “because I was her math teacher last year. One of her goals has been overlooked somehow, but I can tell you she now has 25.”
Hazlett’s last goal came in the 76th minute on a hard drive following a long through ball by DeVere. Two minutes later, sophomore Payton Fowler hustled to the goal mouth to earn a goal after DeVere’s shot hit the bar and dropped like a stone in the frigid air.
Storm goalkeeper Rachel Runnalls, a junior, needed to make only two saves, both in the final 12 minutes. The four back-line stalwarts along with midfielders Sarah Hulbert, Byron, and DeVere and forward Braeden Hilleary just couldn’t, and wouldn’t, be dented.
The Storm posted a 16-2 shot-on-goal advantage as Olympic keeper Dimity Watson made 9 saves.
Hazlett said she has been especially impressed with how close the young team has become.
“Our team unity has really improved” she said, since the team began the season. Amazingly for an unbeaten team, the Storm starts only four seniors.
Squalicum 5, Olympic 0