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MIHS Polo Team Beats Bellevue in Double OT Thriller
In front of a rowdy home crowd, Mercer Island beat Bellevue in a seesaw battle that went into double overtime. The Islanders won 15-13, handing the Wolverines their lone league loss of the season.
The Islanders lost to Bellevue in two hard-fought games earlier this season. Head Coach Ryan Hall said, “Our boys were focused and confident they could compete with Bellevue. Having already been beaten twice, we had nothing to lose and I think it helped take some of the pressure off and allowed us to come out loose and relaxed.”
Bellevue jumped out in front 3-1 in the first quarter and broadened their lead to 7-3 at the half. Momentum began to shift as MI outscored Bellevue 3-1 in the third quarter. Trailing by 2 with minutes to go in the 4th, the Islanders tied up the game at 10-10 after an Austin Ralph assist to Anthony Pedreira. Goalie Hunter Peshkin blocked a two-meter point-blank Bellevue shot with 20 seconds left in regulation and the Islanders quickly moved the ball back up the pool. Jack Larkin fired at the Bellevue goal with a few seconds left on the clock. Bellevue’s goalie captured the ball on his fingertips and the crowd let out an audible gasp as the ball appeared to briefly roll back into the net. However, the referee’s back was turned and the goalie quickly gathered the ball as time expired forcing the game into overtime.
The first overtime goal was scored by Bellevue but MI answered back on the next possession with a man-up play by Ford Witman. Bellevue put another one on the board and led 12-11 with 32 seconds remaining. A Chris Merritt goal tied the game up at 12-12 and sent the game into its second overtime. In the second OT the Islanders scored 2 goals in rapid succession, shut down the Wolverine offense and closed with a 15-13 win.
The Islanders demonstrated balanced teamwork, as eight different Islanders put the ball into the net and eight players snagged steals. The dependable goalie duo of Hunter Peshkin and Henry Mansfield combined for 15 saves, with 8 and 7 apiece.
Hall further commented, “I think our team has always shown resiliency throughout the season, and last night was another example of how we were able to battle back after being down big at the half. Our goalies both made some very key blocks and we were able to get more stops on defense which opened up opportunities on our counter attack. Also, the crowd and atmosphere was excellent. We definitely had some home-pool advantage.”
The Islanders traveled south to play in the San Diego Open October 24-27 to play amongst a highly competitive field of 40 teams. The Maroon squad finished 4-1 in the tournament, posting wins over West Hills, La Costa Canyon, Santa Fe Christian and Mar Vista. The Islanders only stumble was a first round loss to Ramona in OT.
The team will now turn its focus toward the state playoffs, which begin November 13. Coach Hall said, “Our goal has always been to compete as hard as we can and to play up to our potential. If we do this, I think we'll be able to compete with anyone at the upcoming state tournament.”