Heartbreaking and thrilling at the same time is the only way to describe Lynden Christian boys’ soccer 4-0 win over Nooksack Valley on Saturday, May 9, at Whatcom Community College.
But that’s the way loser-out playoff games go.
For the Lyncs, it was a mix of everything coming together in likely their best game of the season, as they controlled the run of play, and completely handled the top Northwest Conference Class 1A team.
“The team came out with such intensity,” LC senior Cody Fransen said. “It started at practice and none of us wanted our season to end like it did. Great team win, great team effort.”
The Lyncs jumped up on the scoreboard early when Fransen blasted one into the net off the volley.
Nooksack Valley was visibly stunned and it showed in the play.
LC controlled possession for the rest of the game and the Pioneers’ usual strengths of getting the ball wide and finding point man Luke VanWingderden weren’t present.
Halftime wasn’t the regrouping the Pioneers wanted, as Fransen found the net again just four minutes into the second half.
It was an uphill battle for Nooskack from there.
Carson Janzen scored in the 50th minute and Fransen netted the hat trick in the 72nd.
For the Pioneers, it was the end of 12 seniors’ careers and the end of the best season in Nooskack boys’ soccer history.
“I’m just proud and blessed to be here,” four-year Pioneer captain Will Kingma said as tears formed in his eyes. “Proud of the guys, proud of the coaches. It’s just tough.”
Kingma didn’t start but entered the game after the first goal and despite hobbling and not being able to sprint because of his ankle injury put in a valiant effort.
Even as the Pioneers’ state playoff hopes were coming to an end, Kingma was cheering his team on from the sideline and talking with players as they came off the field.
It’s a memorable season for Nooskack Valley and Kingma reflected on that after the game.
“Super fun playing here, the success we had, team-bonding. It’s a great group of guys,” Kingma said. “We had a lot of fun.”
Lynden Christian moves to the Class 1A Bi-District Tournament, where the Lyncs will face Northwest on Tuesday, May 12.