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Hat tricks from Hill, Bender advance Islanders | Prep boys soccer
For Mercer Island boys soccer, getting three goals from its striker hasn’t been uncommon this postseason. But hat tricks from two players? That was something new.
That’s exactly what the Islanders got Tuesday, May 20 with Ryan Hill and Sean Bender each scoring three goals as Mercer Island won its first round state tournament game against Mountain View, 6-0 at Islander Stadium. For Hill, it was his third-straight game with three goals.
“I can’t recall a time that’s happened in high school soccer to my knowledge, it’s very rare,” said coach Colin Rigby. “It’s incredible really to have two guys score three goals in a game, and to have Ryan score nine goals in three games is truly a feat.”
Bender put the Islanders on the board in the game’s fourth minute and Hill struck first in the game’s 16th minute to give Mercer Island a 2-0 halftime lead. Bender and Hill kept it going in the second half, with Bender’s third goal coming in the 53rd minute and Hill’s in the 60th, providing plenty of offense while the Mercer Island defense kept Mountain View’s shots on goal few and far between. Tate Crenshaw and Matthew LeProwse recorded the shutout in goal for the Islanders.
While Rigby praised the confident play of his goalies, he credited the shutout to the performance of the Islanders’ defense.
“Our defense has come a long way since the beginning of the season. Even with injuries, they have been very strong and have given other teams way more trouble than I would’ve expected,” he said. “When you have four really strong, smart, fast defenders, it’s tough to break down that back line.”
Going forward, Mercer Island’s coach noted that the level of competition in the state tournament will continue to rise and said the most important thing for the Islanders to do is focus on what they do well and not get carried away with what other teams can do. If the Islanders continue to do what they do best, they’ll continue to be successful.
As for Hill’s streak, Rigby just hopes he can continue finding the back of the net.
“Hopefully he’ll just continue scoring. If he scores three, great. If he scores one, that’s great, too. We can win a game 1-0 just like we can win a game 6-0.”