Sports Blog

Sports Blog: A farewell to the boys’ soccer season

In one fell swoop, every Whatcom County boys’ soccer team’s season was over. It all happened within the course of a couple hours and was incredibly shocking. To see incredibly talented Sehome and Squalicum fall back-to-back and then hear that scrappy Lynden Christian was eliminated was jaw-dropping for me.

But now that it’s all over, here’s a look back at the 2015 boys’ soccer season:

Lynden’s Nicolas Parris comes out of nowhere. He led all Whatcom County scorers with 14 goals, adding five assists to boot. He was a big reason Lynden was in the thick of the playoff race and nearly made the postseason. If not for a late-season injury, he may have been able to get the Lions there. This was a guy who didn’t even make the All-Northwest Conference team last year. Impressive for the sophomore.

Squalicum still top dog. The Storm went undefeated throughout the year, had a stifling defense and had some extremely talented players. They were unselfish and played some beautiful soccer but I think the undoing was probably the unselfish play. Anyone of the Storm’s goalscorers probably would have been the leader on any other team, but on the Storm they shared the load. When it came playoff-time, it felt like nobody was willing to step up in the attacking third and make something special happen, although Ben Peterson certainly made his best effort. It’s worth noting the Storm’s playoff draw was ridiculously tough. Still, this was the best team in the league and one of the most fun to watch — if only to see why soccer is called the beautiful game.

Sehome going to be contenders for a state title next year. The Mariners lose just one player. One. This is a team that if not for injuries was probably a state title contender this season. It’s sad to see the Mariners get eliminated so early, but, like the Storm, the Mariners didn’t have that one true scorer. Zach Wanne was athletic and soccer-smart but this team needed that guy that can just beat people. Coach John Sylvester thinks they might have that with some of the freshmen, such as Gus Diehl and Sammy Pacheco-Rodriguez, next year. They’ll certainly have the experience everywhere else.

LC finds footing late in season. The Lyncs really didn’t look like they had any chance of going to state until Cody Fransen returned from injury and pioneered a deep run into the postseason, including a 4-0 win over Nooksack Valley in a loser-out game. It wasn’t always pretty but the Lyncs always found a way.

Farewell to Nooksack Valley. The Pioneers and their 12 seniors this season were one of the great success stories in the Northwest Conference. Will Kingma was an incredible leader and this team just had a lot of fun. It played an exciting brand of soccer and had some great scorers. It’s a shame it all fell apart in the postseason because I was looking forward to seeing this team in the state tournament.

You got to score to win. Bellingham learned this the hard way. The Red Raiders scored only 14 goals in 16 games. While the defense only allowed 17, one of the best in the league, finding the net is essential. It was also what plagued Squalicum, Sehome and LC at times this year.

Some impressive glovework. Hector Gutierrez (Lynden), Jake Poag (LC), Joe Worley (Bellingham), Levi VanWingerden (Nooksack Valley) and even Harjaap Atwall (Meridian) impressed this season. But Poag’s 16-save night in the postseason had to be one of the most impressive performances I’ve ever seen from a goalkeeper. He could have logged another 15 saves if cutting off through balls by being aggressive were counted as saves.

Skagit County dominance. The three Skagit County teams in the Northwest Conference put on quite a show this year. Burlington-Edison led the Northwest Conference for most of the season, and the Tigers are the only one not still playing. Sedro-Woolley is in the district championship and Anacortes is going to state. A tip of the hat to the Skagit teams this year.

What was the story of the year for you?