Boys bash Bellevue 11-5

Mercer Island gets infusion of youth for balanced attack

Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

The young Mercer Island boys lacrosse team is becoming younger and younger as the season goes on. The pitfalls of inexperience have been seen in the team’s inconsistency. But the skill of that youth came out as Mercer Island pounded Bellevue, 11-5, on Friday at Islander Stadium.

“They have been lacking the intensity and confidence going up against these older, bigger teams,” said Mercer Island boys lacrosse coach Ian O’Hearn. “We always wonder what team is going to show up. We are still experimenting, but tonight was better.”

One of those experiments was bringing Mike Black up from JV. The junior rewarded his coach by scoring four goals during the game.

“We got really pumped up for this,” said Black. “We need to get better if we are going to make a playoff run.”

The Islanders jumped on the Wolverines to start the game — literally. Following goals by Black and Steven Caditz, sophomore Spencer Tierny showed no fear in laying out a Bellevue player with a brutal body check, which brought the Islander fans to their feet. The hit set the tone for Mercer Island as they increased their lead, sometimes at will, to 6-0.

The defense was also solid as goalkeeper Adam Bowen stopped the Wolverine attack with a big save with one minute left in the first quarter.

Bellevue finally broke the shutout during the second period. But the resulting face-off went to Michael Choe, who sprinted down the field and found teammate Daniel Shields for the 7-1 lead.

The Islanders’ inexperience came through during the third quarter when they let Bellevue back into the game. A Black goal to start the third was no match for the 3-1 run that the Wolverines would go on, leaving them within shouting distance of the lead at 9-4. Experience came back into the picture for the Islanders as a long goal from Choe, a senior, ended Bellevue’s momentum.

“Bellevue has improved every year, and we have been playing down lately,” said Choe. “I think we had the motivation tonight and put a little extra into this game.”

The win for the Islanders came at the right time, as they lost to Skyline earlier in the week 6-5. That loss came despite balanced scoring from the Mercer Island players.

“We have a young team, and they are inexperienced,” said Choe. “There is always the motivation factor, and sometimes you have to just want it more than they do.”

The Islanders are currently third in their league behind Bainbridge Island and Issaquah with an 8-3 record.

The Islanders will travel to Vashon Island on Friday for a 7:30 p.m. game and finish out the regular season on May 6 when they host Maple Valley at 8 p.m. in Islander Stadium.

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