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Sports briefs

The Mercer Island 12U United boys soccer team. Pictured from left, back row: Coach Tom Montague, Brandon Lawler, Nathan Gallatin, Jack Counihan, Jeremy Moss, Stuart Toda, Steven Woolston, Scott Montague, Coach Richard Counihan; front row: Michael Bantle, Michael Drucker, Peter Battisti, Peter Williams, Michael Krebs, Brett Bottomley, Chandler Cahill, Nathan Rosenstein, Alex Hoffman. - Contributed photo
The Mercer Island 12U United boys soccer team. Pictured from left, back row: Coach Tom Montague, Brandon Lawler, Nathan Gallatin, Jack Counihan, Jeremy Moss, Stuart Toda, Steven Woolston, Scott Montague, Coach Richard Counihan; front row: Michael Bantle, Michael Drucker, Peter Battisti, Peter Williams, Michael Krebs, Brett Bottomley, Chandler Cahill, Nathan Rosenstein, Alex Hoffman.
— image credit: Contributed photo

United boys 12U takes Monroe

The Mercer Island 12-and-under boys soccer team remains unbeaten after its third tournament victory at Monroe. United’s tournament record stands at 14-0 with 41 goals scored and five against. However, the final game was by far the team’s toughest moment of the summer.

The Monroe tournament was won on penalty kicks 3-1 after regular time ended in 0-0. Penalties were scored by Lawler, Counihan and Drucker, and Peter Williams made three penalty saves for United.

It was a damp and wet game with the ball being difficult to control. United played ISC Arsenal, which had been defeated, 3-2, in an earlier round. However, ISC Arsenal was determined to level the win column and held United deep in its half for extended periods. United’s defense proved difficult to breakdown and it was assisted by some great saves by its goalkeeper, Peter Williams.

United looked dangerous on the break, and halfway through the first half, Drucker broke free on the right but was chopped down in the box, resulting in a penalty. United was unable to convert.

The game remained tense and the ISC Arsenal players found themselves unlucky not to be ahead. The last few minutes of the game saw close attempts by Drucker and Woolston on the ISC goalmouth but full time ended 0-0. The game was followed immediately by penalties — United missed its first, as did ISC, but the next three were driven hard into the net and ISC couldn’t match. Monroe’s silverware was added to Skagit and Kent for the U12 boys.

In the previous rounds, United beat Newport Reign, 4-0, with goals from Drucker, Counihan, Bottomley and Woolston; Alliance, 5-0, with goals from Drucker, Toda, Bantle, Woolston and Krebs; ISC Arsenal, 3-2, with goals from Bottomley and two from Drucker; Lakehills, 3-0, with goals from Counihan, Lawler and Cahill.

MIFC Islanders strike gold

The Mercer Island 12-and-under girl’s team capped off a successful weekend by winning the championship game of the Monroe Skyriver tournament on Sunday afternoon. However, the real drama may have been the coin flip the day before which earned the Islanders the right to play in the championship game.

The Islanders started off the tournament on Thursday with a hard-fought 2-0 win over the Stanwood United Fire Select team. Katherine Vetter and Joelle Antilla tallied the goals with assists going to Antilla and Emily Menz. On Friday morning, the always tough Ballard Saprissa Premier team arrived looking for a win. With good passing and quick foot work, Saprissa went up 2-1 at the half. The second half was a see-saw battle, but the Islanders scored the equalizer and shut the Ballard club down. The final score was 2-2 with goals scored by Megan Diamond and Gabriela Venditti. Assists went to Joelle Antilla and Kelly Stone.

On Saturday, the Islanders returned to Monroe for two games. The morning game pitted them against the overmatched Shoreline FC Chili Peppers, resulting in an 8-0 win. Proving the balance on the Islander squad, eight different girls scored. Katherine Vetter, Olivia Snell, June Kissel and Kelly Devine all scored unassisted goals. Megan Barbara, Amanda Tsang, Megan Diamond and Katie Kepler all scored with assists going to Tsang, Kepler and Joelle Antilla twice.

Going into the afternoon game, the Islanders knew they needed a shutout and at least three goals to keep pace with the Saprissa squad in the race to win the pool play and advance to Sunday’s championship game. Standing in their way was the tough Lake Hills Legend squad, a team that the Islanders were very familiar with. Despite a determined effort by the Lake Hills club, the Islanders met the challenge and prevailed 3-0. Goals were tallied by Joelle Antilla, Amanda Tsang and Megan Diamond with assists to Diamond and Gabriela Venditti.

At the conclusion of pool play on Saturday afternoon, the Islanders and Ballard Saprissa were tied and had identical 3-0-1 records in addition to the same number of goals allowed in the tournament and the same number of goals scored. So it came down to a coin flip as to who would advance to Sunday’s championship game against the winner of the other pool. Ballard chose heads on the flip and the coin landed tails, sending the Mercer Island squad to the championship match.

Sunday’s game was another hard-fought battle against a tough Bainbridge Select Ice team. Joelle Antilla scored on an assist by Gabriela Venditti in the first half, and the tenacious Islander defense made it stand up. The Islanders were more than happy to accept their trophy and gold medals as tournament champions after four days of tough soccer.

Outstanding goalkeeping by Megan Barbara, Annalise Weiss and June Kissel was the theme throughout the tourney. They were aided in large measure by the strong field work turned in by Catherne Seifert, Adrienne Suhm, Ashlyn Reid, Lydia Venditti and Kaya Robertson.

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