Spark fizzles out on girls soccer team

Many teams would have quit following a tough 0-3 preseason and finding themselves down 1-0 at halftime during their first regular season game. But the Mercer Island girls soccer team found a spark during the second half of their 2-1 victory against Liberty on Tuesday at Islander Stadium.

“We needed to get into this game and get into league play,” said Islander Coach Adam Gervis. “This was a huge baby step forward.”

The spark for the Islanders came both on offense and defense.

Four minutes into the second half, Islander Erin Bourguignon tied the game with an awkward shot-on-goal from 60 feet away.

“I was just trying to kick it back into play, and it went into the goal,” said Bourguignon. “A goal is a goal, and I’ll take it every time.”

The score gave the Islanders renewed enthusiasm and the team picked up their pace dramatically from the first half. The Islanders found themselves down 1-0, thanks a Liberty goal nine minutes into the game.

“We shouldn’t have [given] up that goal, but our goalkeeper made up for it a million times over,” said Gervis.

Islander goalkeeper Susan Schuman began the game like her team: slow. But the second half was a stark contrast in how well the Islanders can play when inspired by the rest of the team. A leaping save during the 68th minute, barely punching the ball over the cross bar, was inspired by the renewed hope of a tie game. But in return, Schuman inspired her team.

“Everyone had to raise their play a little,” said Gervis. “What raised it was that save.”

Schuman’s small frame made the save that much more impressive.

“It is hard, sometimes, being short and being a goalkeeper,” said Schuman. “But I wasn’t going to let them take the game after we tied it.”

The Islanders took the lead two possessions later as Mary Hill took control of the ball in the left corner and set up Rachel Pedreira, who sent a rocket shot to the back of the Patriots’ net.

The momentum of the win was enough to jump-start the Islanders to a 1-0 lead over Bellevue on Thursday. Bourguignon scored an unassisted goal 12 minutes into the second half, giving the Islanders the lead. But the Wolverines would score during the final two minutes of the game to tie the score and force overtime. Neither team could put the ball into the back of the net, and the game ended 1-1. Mercer Island finished the week with an in-league record of 1-0-1 before hosting Juanita on Tuesday (after Reporter deadline) and then traveling to Mount Si for a 7:30 p.m. game.

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