Soccer continues free fall

The Mercer Island girls’ soccer team continued to fall on Thursday, when they lost to Sammamish, 2-0. The loss put Mercer Island in jeopardy of missing the playoffs altogether after leading the division and being undefeated after six games. The loss was also Mercer Island’s fourth in five contests.

“We actually had a chance to come in second, but we are done with that thanks to this loss,” said Mercer Island coach Adam Gervis. “We’ve had enough chances to bury a battleship.”

The team’s struggles to score goals continued against the Totems. A lethargic first 20 minutes of the game led to a 4-1 shots-on-goal advantage for Sammamish. But Mercer Island picked up the pace, eventually out-shooting the Totems 9-8 during the first half. Despite nine chances, Mercer Island could not get a ball into the back of the net.

“We are the best overall team,” said Gervis. “But I have been coaching for 30 years, and I have never seen anything like this. We haven’t won at home since we played Juanita [Sept. 23]. We are scared of our own shadows, and we can’t get over the hump.”

Sammamish took advantage of its opportunities during the second half. A breakaway by a Totem player left her one-on-one with the Mercer Island goalkeeper, Susan Shuman. Mercer Island’s goalkeeper did the only thing she could, coming out of the goal to challenge the player. But a dribbling kick rolled past Shuman for the first goal of the game during the 52nd minute.

Two minutes later, the Totems put the game out of reach for the struggling Islanders on a long 100-foot shot that sailed to the far post and a 2-0 lead.

Shuman would make a diving save during the 71st minute, as her teammates frantically peppered the other goalkeeper with shots. Mercer Island took seven shots-on-goal during the final five minutes of the game.

“It’s the mental piece that we can’t get past,” said Gervis.

Mercer Island held a 5-0-1 record and was at the top of the division as late as Sept. 22. But since the loss of their top scorer and second-year captain, junior Erin Bourguignon, to an injury, the Islanders have an 0-4-1 record.

“She has an amazingly strong personality, which is normally a good thing,” said Gervis. “Without her, the entire picture changes and we haven’t had anyone step up.”

Bourguignon has attended all of her team’s games since being injured but will miss the rest of the season even if the team makes the playoffs, said Gervis.

Mercer Island has not scored a goal during the last 221 minutes of play.

The Islanders played Interlake on Tuesday in a must-win game (after Reporter deadline) in order to make the playoffs.

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