Mercer Island lacrosse earns big wins in Massachusetts

The Mercer Island boys lacrosse team listens to head coach Ian O
The Mercer Island boys lacrosse team listens to head coach Ian O'Hearn during a practice in Massachusetts last week.
— image credit: Contributed photo

By Linda Williams Rorem

Special to the Reporter

The MIHS boys lacrosse team’s strong season continued during a spring break trip to Massachusetts, with two wins against top East Coast teams.

“It was a very fun trip,” said Islander Coach Ian O’Hearn. “We were hoping to at least go two and one, which we did, and we’re really happy about that.”

According to the coaches/computer rankings, the Islander boys are now ranked 30th in the nation, higher than any other Northwest team (Bainbridge Island follows in 34th place, and Issaquah stands at 71st).

Prior to the Massachusetts trip, the boys endured a grueling stretch, with three solid wins against top Oregon teams during the weekend-long Northwest Invitational, a victorious rematch against 2010 State Champion Bellevue four days later (8-6), and then a long bus ride to Vancouver, Wash., to face Kings Way on Friday night (7-5), and then, in a non-league game Saturday afternoon, Oregon Episcopal School (a 3-10 loss).

Afterwards, the boys finally had a day of rest before boarding a red-eye to Boston.

On April 6, the refreshed and ready varsity team challenged Duxbury (MA), which prior to the game was ranked no. 12 in the nation (Under Armor high school power rankings). In a stunning upset, Mercer Island beat the perennial Massachusetts State Champion, 7–6, thanks in part to an overtime goal by midfielder Connor Bernal and goalie Brian Bernstein's 17 saves.

Two days later, the team faced Concord-Carlisle and came up short at 5-9.  Concord-Carlisle took an early lead, finishing the first quarter 5-0.

Concord Coach Tom Dalicandro told a local reporter that the Islanders “are a good team.” However, he added, “We got some transition goals early and that shocked them.”

Mercer Island’s defense came alive in the second quarter, shutting out its opponent. Nearly six and a half minutes into that quarter, midfielder Alex Rorem scored MI’s first goal; he added another as the buzzer sounded.

Concord soared ahead in the final period, bringing the score to 9-2 until 8:55 minutes remained. The Islanders then made a valiant comeback effort, with another goal by Rorem and one each by midfielders Colton Knebel and Doug Mahony, but time ran out before they could catch up to Concord.

The next day, on Saturday, April 9, the Islanders met up with Lincoln-Sudbury, which placed third in Massachusetts last spring.  The Islanders led the entire game, to a 7–5 finish.
“Lincoln played very well,” Coach O’Hearn said.  “It was a good game.  We got the advantage on them early, at one point leading 4 – 1, and we kept going.”
By late in the third quarter, the Islanders still led 6-3. Although Lincoln-Sudbury fought back valiantly, at one point getting within a goal, Mercer Island came out ahead.
Midfielder Mahony had two goals, while five other Islanders also scored. Goalie Bernstein had another great game, with terrific saves and clutch stops.

The Islanders face Issaquah at home Friday, April 15 at MIHS, starting at 8 pm.

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