Sports

Girls soccer fades from playoff picture

Islanders have lost four in a row

By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter

Despite injuries and the beginning of a youth movement, the Mercer Island girls soccer team still had slim hopes of making the playoffs last week. But two losses have run the team’s losing streak to four games and knocked the team out of the playoff picture.

“We had every chance to bury them and we did not,” said Mercer Island soccer coach Adam Gervis. “They are all getting so much good experience but they are also learning new positions, so it is difficult.”

Injuries to key players on the team have left Gervis with a very young team that could not put Liberty away on Oct. 17.

The Patriots got on the scoreboard first with a goal during the 23rd minute of play with a corner kick. But Mercer Island continued to attack the Liberty defense. A penalty with under two minutes left during the first half gave the Islanders a free kick 40 yards away from the Patriot’s net.

Islander Erin Bourguignon powered the ball into the direction of teammates in the goal box. Two Mercer Island players attempted to make a play on the pass. Both got blocked out by Liberty players, but nobody touched the ball as it slipped past and into the net.

“She has quite a boot,” said Gervis.

The score tied the game at 1-1.

“It was luck,” said Bourguignon, whose longest score of her young career came from mid-field in elementary school. “I thought someone touched it, but a goal is a goal.”

Bourguignon was everywhere during the game. The sophomore even made two goal saves during the game. The second save came as Liberty attempted to take the lead three minutes into the second half. Mercer Island goalkeeper Maxie Gumprecht came out of the box to try and stop the attack but was caught off guard by a pass. The ensuing shot bounded toward the Mercer Island goal as Bourguignon slid in to kick the ball away.

The Patriots would take the lead with three minutes remaining in the contest as Gumprecht slipped on the wet field turf attempting to make the game-saving stop.

Mercer Island did not give in, taking three more shots-on-goal and a corner kick before the final whistle.

“Our team has a lot of talent,” said Bourguignon. “And we give it our all. It is frustrating to have all these injuries. I was injured last year, and I know what they are going through.”

The injuries have taken their toll on everyone.

“It has just been one thing after another,” said Gervis. “But the girls’ spirits are amazing.”

On Thursday, Mercer Island traveled to Skyline in a must-win and got a dose of what the best in the league has to offer in a 3-0 loss.

The Spartans wasted no time, scoring the first goal of the game after just four minutes of play. Skyline effectively ended Mercer Island’s playoff hopes with their second goal of the game at the 18-minute mark and then a third goal during the second half. Mercer Island was still technically in the playoff hunt when the Reporter went to press on Tuesday. But the team would have to defeat their final two opponents and hope for both Sammamish and Newport to lose their final two contests.

The Islanders have not missed the 3A KingCo playoffs in nearly a decade.

Mercer Island will finish the season at 7:30 p.m., Friday, against Sammamish.

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