What a way for a freshman to make an entrance.
In the 29th minute of an always-fierce prep girls’ soccer rivalry, young Bellingham defender Eden Fawcett was the difference-maker in her first conference competition.
The outside back blocked a clearance, took a touch and whipped in a cross to senior Brooke Baker, who was making a slicing run through the back line of the Sehome defense and blasted the ball into the back of the net.
“I got the ball and I just looked and saw Brooke running and just took a touch and played the ball in and Brooke got it,” Fawcett said after the Red Raiders’ 1-0 Northwest Conference victory on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at Civic Stadium.
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While it was quite the opening for Fawcett, it was also a great start for the Red Raiders, who topped the Mariners for the second time in a week. The Mariners won all three matchups between the two teams last year.
“I think it’s incredible for our girls’ confidence moving forward,” Red Raiders coach Mark Wright said. “We impressed upon our girls that grit and fire and heart and all that stuff really matter in high school soccer. I think the lights came on for our kids a little tonight.”
Bellingham often looked the superior team on the field, but the Mariners goalkeeper Nicole Carlson kept Sehome close.
The Mariners junior netminder stopped seven shots, four of which came in one-on-one situations, while also thwarting several dangerous crosses.
“She’s really come into her own,” Sehome coach Andria Fountain said. “She works hard. She’s just growing. She’s only a junior and she’s confident in her skill, which really helps and the team is confident in her abilities. It was nice for us to have her back there.”
The Mariners offense on the other hand lacked a spark, mustering only a couple good opportunities in 80 minutes. The best came in the 19th minute when senior captain Abby Webster stole the ball in the attacking half, knocked it to Lyla Pagnotta, who looked for the give-and-go opportunity.
It was just a touch too far as Chloe Campbell came out to snag the through ball.
“I don’t know what the reasoning is,” Fountain said of the lackluster attack. “It’s something I got to figure out.”
The Mariners will face Lynden Thursday, Sept. 17, at Bender Fields.
The Red Raiders take on Squalicum at 7 p.m. Thursday, at Civic. It’ll be the fifth straight 2014 state qualifier Bellingham faces to open the season. For the team to be 2-2 is a good sign, Wright said.
“I’m really proud of it. We were pretty humbled when we got beat 5-0 by Squalicum and 5-0 by Shorecrest. That was tough,” Wright said. “The kids had a meeting and they just said ‘How do we want this season to be remembered?’”
Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or email@example.com.
Bellingham 1, Sehome 0
Goal: Brooke Baker (Bellingham), assist: Eden Fawcett, time 29. Goalies (saves) — Sehome: Nicole Carlson (7); Bellingham: Chloe Campbell (4). Shots on goal — Sehome 4, Bellingham 8.