Sequim's Wolves battled to a berth in the state 2A playoffs for the second year in a row, only to be knocked out - again - by the Bellingham Red Raiders by a 1-0 count.
This time around, the Red Raiders didn't wait until overtime.
Senior Dylan Langei drilled a shot across the goal to the left post just two minutes into the second half while Bellingham midfielders controlled most of the play to squelch any Sequim last-minute attack, winning the state playoff opening round game in Poulsbo on May 18.
"A good team - maybe the best team we saw all season," a reticent Nick Camporini said following the loss. "They're a good team - solid, quick - but our defense played strong to the end."
Sequim looked to have a fighting chance after strong showings on turf all season long and coming off a penalty shot playoff win against Nisqually League champion Steilacoom.
But Bellingham used an array of quick-footed, sharp-passing forwards and midfielders to control the majority of play. Once they had the lead, the Red Raiders pressured Sequim's defense and keeper Byron Boots for another score.
Sequim's best chances came from all-leaguer Jerry Azanza, who had a pair of headers that Red Raider keeper Auden Schilder had to defend.
Bellingham remained tough, however, and repeated their 1-0 state opening-round win versus Sequim in 2009 with another.
"We gave it our 100 percent," Sequim coach Dave Brasher said. "That team has a lot of skill (but) I thought we defended well."
Sequim saw the last game for eight seniors, including all-league first teamer Daniel Servin, leading scorer John Textor and Austin Sanford, a grad-to-be who's played varsity ball for Sequim since he was a freshman, a streak of more than 60 games.
"After four years on varsity, that was the best (team)," Sanford said. "We had a consistent mindset of effort."
Sanford reflected on his years of play for the Wolves, then passed along words of wisdom to future Sequim soccer squads: "Be friends with each other. That will take you so far."
Reach Michael Dashiell at firstname.lastname@example.org.