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Islanders shut out Shorecrest, advance to final four | Prep boys soccer
Mercer Island boys soccer continued its quest for a state title Saturday night, beating Shorecrest 4-0 in the 3A boys soccer state quarterfinals at Islander Stadium. With its second-straight shutout of the tournament, the Islanders advanced to the state semifinals in Puyallup. But in a game where fouls were plenty, it was a hard-fought victory.
Mercer Island head coach Colin Rigby said after the game his team knew they’d have to battle to survive the final eight.
"We knew this was going to be a tough team coming into the game and we were completely prepared for a battle and for a war,” said Rigby. “We didn't want to let down or give them an edge in any way. We're happy to go out and fight and do whatever we need to win."
For the third-straight game of its postseason, Mercer Island took a 2-0 lead into halftime, but not before things got chippy in a first half that saw three yellow cards. Mercer Island’s Ryan Hill received the first card of the game after running into Shorecrest’s goalie ten minutes into the first half. After getting injured on the play, the Scots’ starting keeper was able to walk off the field but did not return.
As officiating tightened after the play, both teams received yellow cards before Hill put the Islanders on the board in the 35th minute. Then with under two minutes to play in the first half, Daniel Sims scored off an assist from Alex Zhu as the Islanders once again headed into halftime with a two-goal advantage.
Scott Montague provided extra breathing room for Mercer Island with a strike in the opening minutes of the second half, and Steven Woolston added the finishing touch with a goal in the game’s waning moments. Goalkeeper Tate Crenshaw recorded the shutout for Mercer Island.
After recording its second-straight shutout of the state tournament, Rigby credited his defense for coming together at the right time.
"They're running on all cylinders,” he said. “The leadership from Derek Sims and Matt Hanson has been first-class. When we got guys back there making plays that you see at a professional level, you can't be unhappy about that. They are really leading this team."
Heading into the tournament’s final four, Mercer Island’s coach said the hardest part for his squad will be having to wait a week until its next game.
"It's tough when you have a week to prepare and you have a bunch of high school-age kids," said Rigby. "They're anxious. They want the game tomorrow, I guarantee it. A week is an eternity for these guys. The goal is to make sure we maintain the focus and the composure throughout the week to be ready."
Mercer Island will take on Sunnyside in the tournament semifinals at 2 p.m. Friday, May 30 at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup. The Grizzlies have an overall record of 19-2 this season.