High School Soccer

Big saves preserve tie between Red Raiders, Trojans

Bellingham and Meridian battled to a 1-1 tie in boys’ soccer action on Tuesday, April 21, at Meridian, thanks to solid goalkeeping by both teams’ final lines of defense.

Blake Langei opened scoring with a 57th minute goal for Bellingham, assisted by Carlos Velasco. Jordan Birnel was able to answer for Meridian just 10 minutes later, assisted by Jake Birnel.

“This game was about us trying to find ourselves a bit,” Meridian coach Joe Spencer said in a phone interview. “We’ve been playing better and it was crucial we got a point out of this game. Our two captains, Jake (Birnel) and Limny Nolasco have kind of taken the team by the shorts and said, ‘It’s time.’ Slowly but surely we’re getting a little better.”

Both goalkeepers made key saves to give their teams a chance for at least one point. Meridian’s Harjaap Atwall saved a penalty kick in the 65th minute, allowing Jordan Birnel’s goal a few minutes later to give the team a tie instead of a one-goal loss. Bellingham’s Joe Worley, who played for Meridian last season, also made a key save in the 80th minute to preserve the tie, Spencer said.

Meridian plays next at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at Ferndale. Bellingham hosts Lynden at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at Civic Stadium.

Bellingham 1, Meridian 1

Goal: Blake Langei (B), assist: Carlos Velasco, time 57; Goal: Jordan Birnel (M), assist: Jake Birnel, time 67. Goalies (saves) — Bellingham: Joe Worley (n/a); Meridian: Harjaap Atwall (n/a). Shots on goal — no information provided.