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Mercer Island boys lacrosse looking to return to state championship | Spring Preview
Last year just one point separated the Mercer Island boys lacrosse team from its goal. In the state championship game against Issaquah, the Mercer Island boys were inches from the title, but lost it 10-9. This spring, the Islanders are on a quest to make sure that isn’t repeated.
“We want to win the championship,” said returning head coach Ian O’Hearn. The team has been in the title game eight of the last nine years, winning it four times. O’Hearn likes their chances this year, despite the ever growing popularity of the sport, largely due to the fact that the team only lost four players last year.
Of the four lost to graduation last spring, Daniel Shields was one of them. Shields, whose younger brother Matthew is on this year’s team, was an All-American last year, one of only three honors given in the state for lacrosse.
“Our entire defensive line is back,” said O’Hearn, citing that as one of the team’s strengths. The program, which has seen continued strength and growth throughout all the grade levels, continues to build on the tradition of winning.
“This year, the youth program is just exploding,” said O’Hearn. He said there are 145 first- through fourth-graders playing in leagues on the Island this spring. But for those on the high school team, the season boils down to one goal: state.
“We want to go back to another state championship and redeem ourselves,” said senior captain Conner Beckwith. Naturally given last year’s results, playing Issaquah is a highlight for the whole team. That game takes place on Friday, April 9, at Issaquah with a 8 p.m. start time. But the Eagles aren’t the only team that Mercer Island is waiting for. The captains said they are looking forward to Bainbridge, a longtime lacrosse rival, and Bellevue.
“The Bellevue game should be a good one, and Bainbridge too,” said captain Hap Giraud.
This season the Islanders will travel to New York over spring break to play some of the best high schools in the country.
“Lacrosse in New York is like football in Texas. It’s huge, and they are really good,” said O’Hearn. During last year’s excursion back East, the Islanders lost a majority of their matches, but aim to change that this year.
“We want to win all of those games,” said captain Connor Raffety.
The Islanders will be playing in New York from March 26 through April 3. Their first game back will be at Issaquah, before hosting Puyallup on April 16.
3/26 8:00p (NL) Sunset at Mercer Island
3/27 12:00p (NL) Lincoln at Mercer Island
3/31 7:00p (NL) Mercer Island at Mahopac
4/1 7:00p (NL) Mercer Island at Lakeland/Panas
4/3 4:00p (NL) Mercer Island at Guilderland
4/9 8:00p Mercer Island at Issaquah
4/16 8:00p Puyallup at Mercer Island
4/21 6:00p Vashon at Mercer Island
4/23 8:00p Seattle Prep at Mercer Island
5/1 8:00p Skyline at Mercer Island
5/4 8:00p Mercer Island at Curtis
5/7 8:00p Eastlake at Mercer Island
5/11 8:00p Mercer Island at Eastside Catholic
5/13 5:00p Mercer Island at Overlake
5/14 8:00p Bellevue at Mercer Island