Islanders water polo dominates fall invite

MIHS senior Eugene Chong shoots over a Curtis High School defender during the Islanders’ 16-5 win.  - Pat Fox/Contributed photo
MIHS senior Eugene Chong shoots over a Curtis High School defender during the Islanders’ 16-5 win.
— image credit: Pat Fox/Contributed photo

Starting off the season in a strong way, the Mercer Island boys water polo team began its quest to finish first in the state again, during the mid-September Fall Invitational at King County Aquatic Center.

The Islanders went undefeated, winning all six of their games for a 6-0 start to the 2010 season. Mercer Island played four of its schedule during the tournament on day one, including a meeting with Bellevue as the premiere.

In the first match, the Islanders took command from the opening sprint, scoring four goals in the first quarter. Bellevue managed just four goals overall in the game, as the Islanders went on to a 15-4 win.

Eugene Chong had four goals, while Henry Fox put up three for the Islanders. Ethan Hallowell and Jim Deiparine added two each, while Kyle Moline, Eric Benca and Kalen Hopkins each scored one.

Later in the afternoon, the team faced Tacoma’s Wilson High School, with the Islanders winning 16-3. The team scored six in the first quarter, adding five more before the half, while holding Wilson scoreless. The Tacoma school added its three goals in the second half. Fox scored six during the match, with Chong close behind at four goals. Alec Straughan added two of his own.

In the third game of the day, Mercer Island beat Bainbridge Island, 12-3. In the final match of the day, Mercer Island took on Curtis, winning 16-5. Unlike anyone else the Islanders played, Curtis took to the boards first, scoring twice in the first quarter. But MI changed it around with a six goal run in the first.

During the first day of the tournament, Chong had 16 goals and Fox had 18 goals, for the team’s two highest scorers.

On day two the Islanders faced two opponents, Roosevelt and the Castaway Polo Athletes (CPA). The Islanders beat Roosevelt 16-10, with Fox scoring seven times throughout the game, and Chong adding three more, along with freshman Hopkins.

The final match pitted Mercer Island against CPA, in the closest game of the tournament. The Islanders ended the first half, down by one point, but surged with five goals in the second half, keeping CPA to just one during the same time period for a 10-7 final score.

Head coach Ryan Hall said these wins will help the team when they travel to San Diego next month.

“It’s great that we were able to go undefeated this weekend,” the coach said. “It is clear there is a lot of work we still need to do to achieve our goals and be successful in the San Diego tournament next month.”

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