Soccer reaches semis

Islander Chris Morris battles a Hudson Bay opponent for possession of the ball at Islander Stadium during the first round of the state playoff tournament.  - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Islander Chris Morris battles a Hudson Bay opponent for possession of the ball at Islander Stadium during the first round of the state playoff tournament.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

The Mercer Island boys soccer team should be weaker without team co-captain Keegan Tomita. He is a senior, starter and one of the best players in the state.

But the team is two wins from the state title because of their love for Tomita.

“Keegan is the heart and soul of this team,” said Islander Evan Zahniser. “It is emotional because we know he is in a lot of pain. We want to win it for him.”

Just before the final game of the regular season, Tomita was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with Henoch-Schonlein purpura, a disease that attacks the joints.

Tomita has not stepped back on the field and may not. But there has been little effect.

In his absence, the team has won the league title and earned victories during the first round and quarterfinals of the state playoffs last week.

“He is on the field in spirit,” said Islander John O’Meara. “It is definitely motivating just to see him on the sidelines.”

Tomita has not missed many practices or games since being diagnosed.

“It is really hard to sit and watch this my senior year,” said Tomita. “I am really proud of the guys. We have a lot of depth.”

That depth and motivation sparked a dominating performance during the first round of state, giving the Islanders a 3-0 win over Hudson Bay of Vancouver.

Islander Nick Ward scored the first goal of the post season with off a pass from Chris Morris during the 36th minute.

Mercer Island’s offense was too much for Hudson Bay to handle and the team scored its second goal during the 65th minute as Morris scored unassisted. Radcliffe McDougald found Jed Jacobson during the 72nd minute to close out the scoring.

“We are doing all of this for him,” said long time Islander head coach Steve Newman. “He is the greatest captain we have ever had. It is hard to see him sit.”

Mercer Island advanced to the state senifinals with a dramatic overtime win Thursday against Shorecrest, 2-1.

Shorecrest took a 1-0 lead just six minutes into the game, but Ward found Morris for the game tying goal just after half time. Morris would come up big again with just seconds remaining in overtime to complete the comeback.

The Islanders will hope to continue the run for Tomita on at 1 p.m. on Friday at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood during the state semifinal.

All the Islanders players are hoping that Tomita will be back for their game Saturday and hope to be playing for the state title.

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