Squalicum girls’ soccer coach David Kish is often at a loss for words when asked about his team’s success the past four seasons or his star forward’s impact on the program.
He just couldn’t have imagined what the Storm would accomplish in the four years since Kim Hazlett and a star-studded 2016 class stepped on Storm turf.
Four state semifinal appearances. Two state titles. Two undefeated seasons. A record of 82-6-4 — just 10 games Squalicum didn’t win. The Storm outscored opponents 349-42 — an average margin of victory of 3.33.
Reread those accolades to let them sink in.
She came through when we needed her to. When a team gets to the postseason, they need somebody that can do something special and she did that quite a few times this year.
Squalicum coach David Kish
Squalicum wasn’t just a perennial power, it was an all-time great.
“I’m completely dumbfounded,” Storm coach David Kish said in a phone interview. “I still look back and I’m just in awe.”
To have that type of success, there’s been incredible talent the past four seasons, but no player was as influential as Hazlett, The Bellingham Herald’s 2015 All-Whatcom County Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year. It’s the second straight year she’s earned the honor.
The boisterous forward was the team’s leading scorer each of the past four years, totaling 102 goals in her Storm career. Nothing was more impressive than her 36 goals — 10 in the playoffs — and 11 assists her senior year.
It led to an historically great season for the Storm, which won its second straight Class 2A State Championship in convincing fashion. Squalicum scored 102 goals, allowed four and never were really challenged — aside from, maybe, the 2-1 district title win against Shorecrest.
102 goals scored by Squalicum forward Kim Hazlett in her four years with Squalicum. She led the team each year with her high being 36 in her senior season.
“It was an absolutely amazing season,” Kish said. “I think we’ve done something remarkable. ... I don’t know if it’ll be touched again.”
While Hazlett’s goals increased from 19 to 20 to 27 and then 36, it was about when the goals were coming that was more important than the total numbers.
Early in her career, she had developed somewhat of a reputation — deserved or not — of not performing in the playoffs. Ten goals in the postseason her senior year showed she put those woes behind her.
“I became more composed, more mature,” Hazlett said in a phone interview. “ By junior, senior year, I realized in the end you just got to do you job. It became less pressure in a sense.”
The desire to always improve was essential to Hazlett and the Storm’s success. Winning was never good enough . The Storm wanted to play beautiful soccer too.
Up 3-0 or 4-0, Hazlett and scoring partner were still always demanding better passes, more precise shots and harder runs.
“I think that was a very important thing — not letting the success get to your head,” Hazlett said.
Talent like Hazlett only comes around so often but the lasting impact the success her and the rest of the senior class were able had will last for years. Already, players are talking about making it back next season.
It won’t mean Hazlett won’t be missed, though.
“She’s full of energy, completely chaotic at times with her thought process but she wants to win and she wants to have fun,” Kish said. “She pushed me. I had to become a better coach. ... I’m just going to miss that attitude. She was a fun player to work with.”
Hazlett’s next stop will be the NCAA Division I University of Portland, where she’ll hope to follow in the footsteps of former Pilots’ players, such as U.S. national player Megan Rapinoe, that have made big waves in women’s soccer.
“I’m extremely excited for it,” Hazlett said. “A lot of credit to all my coaches and a lot of people in my life.”