Squalicum is looking to stake its claim as the premier team in the Northwest Conference, while Sehome is trying to remind those who forget what the program can be following a disappointing 2013 campaign.
Regardless, the matchup between the Mariners and the Storm at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, at Civic Stadium will go a long ways to defining where these two programs are at present. Here's an outlook for the pivotal conference game.
Record: 4-0-2, NWC 2-0-0
Strengths: The Storm have one of the most lethal and strong defenses possibly in the state. Hans Kogan and Avery Wolfe lead a group that has only allowed four goals in six games this season. Goalie Trenton Langer has rarely had to show his mettle between the posts, since so few teams get legitimate scoring opportunities against him.
Key player: Senior midfielder Arne Peterson. Peterson is the catalyst of sorts that runs Squalicum's offense. If he's able to get guys like Gabe Bacco-Guidroz, B.J. Flood and Christian Chala open looks at the net, those three aren't ones to miss often, especially Chala, who has four goals already.
Record: 3-1-3, NWC 1-1-1
Strengths: Like the Storm, the Mariners excel on defense. Leading the group is senior captain Sam Diehl at center back, and he brings level of tenacity to a backline that any coach would love. The Mariners are coming off a 2-0 loss to Anacortes, and if they want to stage the upset over Squalicum, Sehome is going to have to keep Christian Chala and Co. away from the middle of the field.
Key player: Junior forward Jesse Haggen. Sehome's struggles this season have come on the offensive end of the ball. With an inexperienced attack, coach John Sylvester is relying on Haggen and Charlie Lahud to provide the offense. If they cant, the best Sehome can hope for is a draw.