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Mercer Island enjoying early season success | Girls lacrosse
ter earning wins in their first three games of the season, the Mercer Island girls lacrosse team is enjoying the success, even if it’s a little surprising.
The team, under first-year head coach Liz Shields, lost a large portion of last year’s team, leaving just six with varsity experience.
“We thought it would be a rebuilding year,” said Shields. The team has been pleasantly surprised by the early season success.
“It’s going well, with those three wins so far,” said senior captain Laura Wessbecher. “I think we have a good team.”
Shields said the team is doing well because of the girls’ hard work. Even though they may have a younger group with less experience, so far, she said, they’ve been motivated.
“I think the fact that all these girls are out here and are athletic is a strength,” said the coach. “They all fight really hard for the ball, and they are all really motivated. Lots of them are young and lack experience at this level, but that hasn’t showed at all in the first games.”
Captain Syndey Tomlinson said she has seen a lot of improvement in the Islanders’ first few weeks, and they have adjusted well to new coaches and a new group.
“We’re excited,” she said. “We’ve played with everyone this whole time and now it’s a totally different program.”
With just a few seniors on the team, mainly the captains, Shields said they do miss the leadership that comes from older players.
A big focus for the team this season is conditioning, Shields said, making sure they can and will run the whole field, the whole game. To be successful in the league, the Islanders know they’ll have to be fit and work together.
“I think they need to be conditioned and obviously work on their stick skills and just work on playing as a team,” said Shields. “Definitely fitness, making sure they can run out the whole game. Definitely that and working hard when we turn the ball over from offense and defending.”
Right now the team is working toward their goal of making the playoffs, which they are already three wins closer to.
“We want to make the playoffs,” said the third team captain, Elizabeth Bachman. “We’d like to make state and not get out in the first round like last year.”
To get there the Islanders will face off against some of the top teams in the state, like Lakeside, the state champs last year, and Bainbridge, along with Snohomish.
“Bainbridge and Lakeside have been successful teams,” said Shields. “Even though I haven’t been here for a long time, obviously those coaches are well respected in the league, so to be able to compete against them is exciting.”
While this is Shields’ first year coaching at Mercer Island, it’s hardly her first step into the world of lacrosse. The Australian native and her family have long been involved in playing, and Shields has coached and umpired in her home country. Her son plays for the high school boys team.
“I’m pretty competitive, and I have lots of experience. Also experience when the boys program and I played as well. I think definitely experience and hopefully it’s a more disciplined team than we’ve had in the past,” she said.
The Islanders will host Eastside Catholic at Islander Middle School on Thursday, March 31 for a 4:30 p.m. game and will play Snohomish on April 14 at MIHS, starting at 8 p.m. They travel to Bainbridge on April 27.
3/31 vs. Eastside Catholic
4/14 vs. Snohomish
4/20 at Holy Names
4/22 at Issaquah
4/27 at Bainbridge
5/4 vs. Roosevelt
5/6 at Bellevue