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Girls lacrosse beat by Bainbridge in semis
During preseason play, Mercer Island girls lacrosse team coach Megan Elston called 2007 “a rebuilding year.” After all, the team had lost a lot of starters and its long-time head coach Sara Milo.
But for Elston, a Mercer Island High School graduate and 2007 coach of the year, the team’s trip to the state semifinals on Thursday was the culmination of a great and unexpected season.
“We made it a lot further than anyone thought,” said Elston. “I think we will be here next year and now we know what it feels like. We just have to make it that final step.”
The Islanders’ season came to an end during an 18-11 loss to Bainbridge Island at Islander stadium Thursday. But no one was heartbroken or depressed — rather the players reveled in defying all the preseason predictions.
“We truly played 16 strong this season, and not having us ranked to start the year was a mistake and we showed that,” said senior Jeni Jobe.
The Islanders finished the regular season as the Eastern Division champions with an 11-2-1 record.
“The positive energy just kept on growing all season,” said senior Nana Ito. “We had a strong chemistry and we built a lot of confidence in each other.”
This was the second-straight season the Islanders have played in the state semifinals, but their first under Elston.
“They had a desire to learn as much as they could, and their work ethic was great,” said Elston. “Lauren Ito really stepped it up in a big way this season.”
Elston said that Lisa Blau-Elliot and Caroline Mahony also made season-changing contributions to the team.
“Mahony is going to be a force to be reckoned with,” said Elston. “They all played ‘butts-off-hearts-out’ lacrosse.”
Ito and Jobe said that they enjoyed their time playing for Mercer Island but also enjoyed watching the sport grow.
“It became cool to bring a lacrosse stick to school,” said Jobe. “It was nice to see all of our hard work pay off.”
The varsity A was not the only Mercer Island girls lacrosse team to shock the state. After losing many good players to the varsity A team, the varsity B team carried over much of the success from last season. The Islanders finished the season with a record of 4-5 and won the Cascade Division title. Head coach Craig van der Horn took home coach of the year honors for Division II.