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Bellevue deals Mercer Island first division loss | Prep boys lacrosse
When Mercer Island went down to the wire in its last two Friday matchups, the Islanders managed to come out on top. But against reigning state champs and familiar foes Bellevue, the Islanders weren't so fortunate.
In its third game decided by a single goal in three consecutive Fridays, Mercer Island lacrosse fell to Bellevue 9-8 Friday, May 9 at Islander Stadium. The loss marked Mercer Island's first loss to a Washington state opponent this season, dropping the Islanders to 9-1 in its division and 16-2 overall.
"The good thing is we feel as though we lost the game, not necessarily that they won the game," said head coach Ian O'Hearn after the game. "There's just countless mistakes on our side that we know better than to do."
Not riding correctly, not clearing the ball well and not running faceoffs effectively were some of the mistakes O'Hearn noticed that ultimately doomed his squad. Conversely, those were the things Bellevue executed to use to their advantage.
"Offensively they weren't that strong, defensively they weren't that strong. They were just riding and clearing really well. We weren't getting the normal amount of possessions that we're used to and that hurt us," he said.
It was again playoff atmosphere for Mercer Island a week after its first-place battle with Issaquah, though this time in its home stadium against its Eastside rival in a rematch of last year's state title game. A goal by Brett Bottomley in the first quarter was quickly answered by Bellevue's Campbell Alexieff, as both teams kept the game tight, finishing the opening period tied 2-2. Eric Haehl gave Bellevue its first lead of the game to open the second quarter, but two goals from Cooper Johnson and a goal from Evan Condon gave the Islanders a 5-3 advantage, which they carried into halftime.
The score remained close through the third, with a goal from Bellevue freshman Augie Fratt tying the score at 5-5 midway through the period before Peter Mahony responded to give the Islanders a one-goal lead heading into the fourth.
But in the game's final period, Bellevue's offense came alive with four goals, three of which coming from its freshman players. Freshman Justin Angelel scored the first two goals of the fourth to give the Wolverines a 7-6 lead. Another goal from Fratt and a goal from Hank Bethke capped Bellevue's run with 2:34 remaining, giving the Wolverines a 9-6 lead. Mahony ended Mercer Island's scoring drought with two quick scores to bring the Islanders within a goal with just under two minutes left in the game, but it was as close as Mercer Island would get. Mahony finished with three goals, while Johnson had two and Bottomley, Condon and Kiernan Coles each scored for the Islanders.
O'Hearn said his team was confident heading into Friday's game, as per their records, Mercer Island had been the stronger team this year. Now his team's focus shifts to finishing out the season strong in the Islanders' final two games before getting ready for the playoffs, where O'Hearn plans to run into Bellevue again.
"We'll fix the mistakes that were hurting us tonight," he said. "We fix those, and we beat that team by four next time we play them."
Mercer Island will take on Roosevelt at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 13 at Lower Woodland Playfields in Seattle.