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Islanders are only undefeated team left in Washington state
The Mercer Island boys lacrosse team sits alone as the only remaining undefeated team in the state, thanks to a 6-4 victory against Issaquah on Friday at Islander Stadium.
“We played our three toughest games in seven days and won all three, so it was a good week,” said Mercer Island boys lacrosse coach Ian O’Hearn.
For the second weekend in a row, Islander Daniel Shields was the difference in a pressure-packed game.
Shields scored the game-winner against Bainbridge Island on April 18, then scored four points during the contest against Issaquah. Of those four points, Shields scored first during the first minute of play and the two decisive goals during the fourth quarter.
“Daniel is definitely taking it to the next level,” said O’Hearn. “But the part that people don’t notice is our defense. Issaquah is one of the highest energy offenses in the state, and we put the lock down on them.”
The first goal gave Mercer Island a short-lived advantage, as Issaquah scored three times to claim the first substantial lead of the game.
But with less than a minute remaining in the quarter, Shields brought Mercer Island back to within 3-2.
The Islanders tied the game with 47 seconds remaining in the half, as Steven Caditz took a Steven Taylor pass and put into the back of the Eagles’ net.
The battle continued into the third period, when the Eagles took a 4-3 lead before Caditz again tied the game.
But the big stick for Mercer Island this year did it again, scoring two fourth-quarter goals to push his team to a narrow victory.
On defense, Mercer Island was led by goalkeeper Hap Giraud, who collected 11 saves during the contest.
The victory came two days after the Islanders continued to make the argument that Bellevue is still not in the same league as the “Maroon and White” by doubling up the Wolverines, 14-7, on their opponent’s home field. And although it was Shields who led Mercer Island to the victory, it was freshman Matt Shields, not older brother Daniel, who led the team by scoring with five goals.
The Islanders dominated Bellevue with seven different players putting the ball into the Wolverine goal. Jon Wettack, Daniel Shields and Caditz all scored two goals, while Graham Horgdal, Connor Bernal and Doug Mahony each scored once during the game.
Giraud finished with seven saves.
The Islanders are now 8-0-0 on the season, with a one-game lead over Issaquah and Bainbridge Island. The Islanders are 10-4-0 overall. Mercer Island has five games left during the regular season before the state playoffs.
The Islanders will host Vashon Island (4-3) at 8 p.m., Friday. But the only big test left for Mercer Island will come on the final day of the season as they take on the Curtis, which is 6-2, and could stand in the way of a perfect season in Washington state play.
“Obviously, we want to finish undefeated,” said O’Hearn. “We want to beat everybody.”
The Islanders still have an out-of-state contest against defending Oregon state champion Lincoln. The Oregon champs beat Issaquah during a preseason matchup, and they have an Island link.
“Peter Baum, their best player, used to live on Mercer Island,” said O’Hearn.