Mount Baker’s dream of reaching the boys’ soccer state tournament for the first time in 15 years was not realized on Saturday, May 7, at Whatcom Community College, but it didn’t come to an end either.
A Class 1A Northwest District Tournament game that started under the buzz of security helicopters hovering above Bellingham International Airport for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s visit to Whatcom County ended with King’s Roma Billing finding the back of the net four minutes into overtime to lift the Knights to a 1-0 victory.
The Mountaineers (9-9) will face the South Whidbey-Seattle Academy victor in an 11 a.m. winner-to-state game Saturday, May 14, at Interlake.
For much of Saturday’s game, Mount Baker was the aggressor. It had a number of excellent scoring opportunities, highlighted by a Jesus Torrero shot that was saved and a Skyler Cannon blast that sailed inches over the crossbar in the final minutes of the first half.
“We were taking time and stats, and we seemed to control about 60 to 70 percent of the game,” Mount Baker coach Jason Jorgenson said. “It just didn’t go our way, which is unfortunate.”
King’s talented forwards started to heat up late in the game, forcing Baker goalie Sergey Gandalyuk and the Mountaineers backline to make a number of scrambling saves in the closing minutes of regulation.
The Knights capitalized in OT when Jack Van Dyke sent a through ball to Billing for the winning score.
South Whidbey 4, Meridian 0
Meridian held South Whidbey scoreless in the first half but allowed four goals in the second half of its Class 1A Northwest District Tournament loss 4-0 on Saturday, May 7, at Whatcom Community College.
South Whidbey scored two goals within the first 20 minutes of the second half and then piled on with two more in the last 10 minutes of the match.
But before the onslaught of goals, Meridian had a chance to score that was batted away by South Whidbey’s keeper. Coach Joe Spencer said this was the turning point of the game.
“Jordan Birnell went near post which is a tough spot for a goalie to make a save,” Spencer said. “We score there and its completely different.”
With its loss Saturday, Meridian was eliminated from postseason play.
Lynden Christian 2, Sultan 0
Another scoreless match at halftime was broken open by Lynden Christian as the Lyncs went on to win a Class 1A Northwest District Tournament match 2-0 over Sultan on Saturday, May 7, at Whatcom Community College.
Grant Rubbert scored on an assist by Carson Janzen to give Lynden Christian a 1-0 lead. In the 70th minute, Janzen earned himself a penalty kick that he converted. Coach Brent De Ruyter said the key to the match was the Lyncs’ adjustments at halftime.
“We talked about possession only being good if we can do something with it,” De Ruyter said. “I didn’t feel like we were finishing plays. In the second half we did a lot better job of that.”