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Water polo takes 10th consecutive state title
For 10 straight years, the Mercer Island High School boys water polo team has dominated not only its league, but the entire state.
It has been an impressive run, one which continued last weekend when the team won its 10th straight state title after beating Bellevue in the championship game.
The tournament started off with the Islanders up against CPA, and strong defense on MI’s part helped keep CPA from scoring. Goalie John Ahalt had three saves during the 14-5 win in the first round. Eugene Chong had six goals, and Henry Fox put four into the net for the Islanders.
In the second game on their way to the title, the Islanders faced Roosevelt, a team that bested them during the regular season. The final score was 17-6, with Kyle Nakagaki scoring three times and Theo Danciu putting one into the net. Fox picked up six for the team, while Kennan Adams had five of his own, and Chong had two.
Advancing to the semifinals, the Islanders once again met CPA for another showdown in the pool. The score in this game was the same as earlier, 14-5, for the Islanders. Fox put up six points for the team, Chong earned three, Adams had two goals and junior Evan Moline – along with Nakagaki and Danciu – each earned a point.
With the second win over CPA, Mercer Island headed to the final game of the tournament, where the team faced Bellevue, a league rival.
By the end of the first quarter, the Islanders were up 5-3, despite a power play from the Wolverines. Both teams continued the battle in the second quarter, when Bellevue found its stride, going goal for goal with the Islanders in the second. At the break, Mercer Island held the lead 7-4.
During halftime, head coach Adam Massmann made a few adjustments, and the Islanders shut out Bellevue in the third 4-0. Ahalt had five saves in that quarter alone, while offensively the Islanders continued to strike at the Wolverine’s goal.
In the fourth quarter, the team pulled a trick play that saw three consecutive tip passes by Mercer Island, but none could find a way into the goal. As time ran out the Islanders had easily grabbed another championship with a final score of 15-5 over Bellevue.
Adams, Fox and Chong were each named to the first team all tournament, while Danciu and Ahalt were named to the second team all tournament. Chong was also named as the state tournament’s most valuable player for his work in the pool.