Season resumes for girls water polo

Islander Stephanie Hammond winds up just before firing a bullet past the CAP goalkeeper. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Islander Stephanie Hammond winds up just before firing a bullet past the CAP goalkeeper.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

The Mercer Island girls water polo team has had a tough time finding consistency. But it is not in their offense, defense or practices. It’s all in the scheduling.

Mercer Island played its first game in three weeks on April 21, losing to CAP 8-6. But the team got back into the flow on Friday, when they trounced Roosevelt, 12-5, at Edgebrook.

“Not playing games has hurt us,” said Islander coach Bekki Lyon. “We had to reschedule because of snow.”

The conflicts have not just been weather-related. Many of the games had to be canceled due to the Mercer Island and Bellevue school districts having spring break during different weeks. The conflict led to many teams not having enough players. But for some girls who play a lot of water polo, the break was not necessarily all bad.

“It was kind of nice to not have so many games,” said Haley March. “But we do need more games together to prepare for the state tournament.”

Last year at this time, the Islanders had played 13 games. This year, the team’s record sits at just 5-2.

With less than a month before the Islanders will try to win back the state title, the win against the Roughriders came at the right time.

The Islanders dominated from the opening whistle, building a 4-1 lead through the first quarter. Three goals by Christina Weed and one more from March set the tone.

But Roosevelt came back during the second period, narrowing the gap to 5-3.

A long bullet shot by Laura Horton blasted the goalkeeper’s hand out of the way as Mercer Island regained the momentum.

“I want to get more of the team involved so that they feel like they have something to contribute when we head into state,” said Lyon. “We have been focused on a lot of repetition in practice, and I want them to put that to good use in actual games.”

The Islanders coasted to the win but know that bigger opponents loom on the horizon.

The Islanders will play defending state champion Newport on Friday at Edgebrook.

“We need to work on our consistency and game technique,” said Weed. “The scheduling conflicts have taught us to be flexible, and I think that will serve us well in the long run.”

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