Sports

Taking aim at a fifth title: Islanders start playoff run Friday at Islander Stadium

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander A.J. Ellis elevates to elude a Roosevelt defenseman in order to score one of his three goals on the night on Wednesday at Islander Stadium. Mercer Island’s game against Skyline  on Tuesday will be featured on Comcast On Demand. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Islander A.J. Ellis elevates to elude a Roosevelt defenseman in order to score one of his three goals on the night on Wednesday at Islander Stadium. Mercer Island’s game against Skyline on Tuesday will be featured on Comcast On Demand.
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Every Mercer Island boys lacrosse fan knows how good Greg Mahony is. His quickness, shot selection, endurance and overall athleticism has allowed him to lead the Islanders during his senior season. But now the nation is taking notice.

“Every coach in California thought he is the best player on the West Coast,” said Mercer Island boys lacrosse coach Ian O’Hearn, following the Islanders’ 19-3 dismantling of Roosevelt Wednesday. “He is going to be an All- American.”

Mahony was recently chosen to play on the 19-and-under national high school game that only takes place every four years in Maryland, the “East West” high school All-Star game, and the senior received a scholarship invitation to play on the 15th-ranked Colgate men’s lacrosse team, which he will probably decline.

“I am looking forward to going to Maryland,” said Mahony. “But at this point I am focused on the season.”

Mahony’s team is currently ranked No. 2 in the state behind Bainbridge Island, the only in-state rival the Islanders have lost to this season. That loss is the only place that Mercer Island trails Bainbridge as their team is statistically the best in the state.

“We have a young defense that has come a long way since that game,” said O’Hearn. “The only thing they have over us is that they are undefeated.”

The Islanders pummeled Issaquah, on April 27, 17-7 as Mahony scored six goals. The Islanders narrowly beat them during the state championship last season and the Eagles have not forgotten that.

“Nobody hates us more,” said O’Hearn. “We respect them, they have a great program. But it is always a heated game for them.”

The game was close at halftime, 5-4, before Mercer Island pulled away.

The Islanders also defeated Maple Valley 16-7 on May 1 at Tahoma Middle School. A.J. Ellis led Mercer Island with five goals during the game.

The regular-season schedule wrapped up last night as Mercer Island took on Skyline at Islander Stadium (after Reporter deadline).

“It mean much to me because we don’t get cable,” said Mahony. “But the sport is definitely growing.”

The game was taped for Comcast On Demand for any spectators unable to make it to Islander stadium. The local television coverage is a product of the exponential growth of lacrosse in Washington state. Comcast also plans to broadcast all of the state playoff games this year including the Islanders’ home game on Friday. The Islanders will start the playoffs in the second round, thanks to their win at the Eastern Division and a first-round bye.

“We just need to execute and stay within our systems,” said O’Hearn.

For Mahony and the other seniors on the team, the game has greater meaning, as it will be their final contest at home.

“I will miss it for sure,” said Mahony, who also played on the football team in Islander stadium. “I want to go out and just enjoy the last time.”

But the biggest goal for the Islanders is to earn a rematch with Bainbridge.

“Now it just comes down to how much we want it,” said Mahony. “[Bainbridge] is getting complacent and we will have a shot to beat them for everything.”

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