Sehome, Ferndale trade blows in hard-fought tie

Both teams come away disappointed with draw
October 3, 2023 at 11:12 p.m.
Sehome’s Ava Lontine kicks the ball past Ferndale’s Jaiden O’Neill for a goal as the two teams battled to a 2-2 tie game on Sunday, Oct. 3 in Bellingham.
Sehome’s Ava Lontine kicks the ball past Ferndale’s Jaiden O’Neill for a goal as the two teams battled to a 2-2 tie game on Sunday, Oct. 3 in Bellingham. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)

Staff Reporter

Sehome and Ferndale girls soccer battled to a 2-2 tie during a clash of two squads atop the 2A/3A Northwest Conference Tuesday night, Oct. 3 at Sehome High School.  

The Golden Eagles (7-0-2, 4-0-2 NWC) started the scoring with a goal off a corner, conceded unnecessarily by the Mariners (7-0-3, 4-1 NWC) in the 4th minute of the game. Ferndale decided to go short with the corner and laid it off to senior, Emily Holdridge, who then fired a shot outside the box into the top corner.   

After tense play in the midfield, the Mariners were able to equalize in the 21st minute. Senior Alina Kravtsov played a ball over the top to senior captain Ava Lontine, who put her body on the line as she collided with the Ferndale goalie Jaiden O’Neill before slamming the ball in. 

photo  Ferndale’s Audrey Holdridge, left, and sister Emily Holdridge hug as they celebrate Emily’s first-half goal. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Sehome dominated the next section of the game as O’Neill wasn’t able to keep Sophia Gardoski’s composed finish off the post in the 38th minute off a great slip ball from junior Kaytlynn Sierra.  

Ferndale head coach Rigel Weis was disappointed by his team going down 2-1 after scoring the early goal.  

“When we get under pressure, we tend to forget what gets us here,” Weis said.  

Weis thought the letdown happened when his team got a little “overconcerned” with what threats the Mariners had going forward. The whole game, Ferndale's goalkeeper and backline shouted “No left” whenever dynamic Sehome lefty Ava Lontine got on the ball.  

The Golden Eagles came out of the break with more energy, winning a penalty in just the second minute of the second half. But Sehome junior keeper Clarice Hickey had the answer as she made a huge save to keep the Sehome advantage. 

photo  Ferndale’s Audery Holdridge raises her arms after scoring on a free kick to tie the game in the second half. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

Ferndale continued to press high and consistently won the ball back up the field.  It did, however, leave the Golden Eagles at risk for counter-attacking football as Sehome got a couple of good chances on the counter.  

After Ferndale conceded possession, Sehome played a long through ball that forward Kravtsov got on the end of, sending a shot that was heading for the bottom corner when O’Neill made her best save of the night to block the ball out for a corner. Right after, Sehome didn’t take another chance to put the game away when they had a wide-open header in the 6-yard box.  

In the 65th minute, a Sehome defender fouled senior Audrey Holdridge, Emily’s twin sister, at the top of the box. Once the wall got set, Audrey powerfully lifted the ball over the wall and past Hickey to knot the match up in the 66th minute after the twin brace.  

photo  Sehome’s Evelyn Sherwood scores a goal. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)  

The last 14 minutes turned into a track meet as each team took turns throwing numbers up the field to go get a winner. The opposing defenses held up and the game finished 2-2.  

The Mariners and Golden Eagles each took the draw in what turned out to be a crucial test for each team, with both squads potentially looking to make a deep, state-playoff run. Ferndale currently sits second in the WIAA’s state RPI rankings in Class 3A, and Sehome is in sixth in the Class 2A rankings a year after they finished second in state.  

Sehome stays at home against Oak Harbor at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5. for its next game. Ferndale stays in Bellingham with a matchup against another top-10 RPI matchup against Class 2A Bellingham at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5.  

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