In a contest featuring a steady downpour of heavy precipitation falling from the sky, the Mercer Island Islanders boys soccer team registered a statement victory on the road against the rival Interlake Saints.
The Islanders scored two first half goals and held on for a dramatic 2-1 win against the Saints on April 11 at Interlake High School in Bellevue. Mercer Island improved its overall record to 8-2-1 with the win while Interlake dropped to 6-3-2 courtesy of the defeat.
With just a few seconds left in the regulation, Interlake unleashed a free kick from about 35 yards away from Mercer Island’s goal. Interlake player Will Meadows leapt into the air and landed a header shot on goal from about 10 yards out. The sensational shot on goal caromed off the left post. Mere seconds following the sequence, the referee blew his whistle signaling the end of the game.
Mercer Island player Emil Talerman, who scored a goal in the 28th minute giving the Islanders a 2-0 lead, was nervous while he watched what ended up being the final moment of the game go his team’s way.
“It was a bunch of commotion and it was just really crazy. We snuck it out. We really did. It was a crazy game and not really the kind of soccer you want to be playing but, you know, a win is a win so its all good,” Talerman said.
Talerman scored his second goal as a result of pure hustle. Ian Onrust unleashed a shot on goal that bounced off Interlake’s goalie and back out into the field of play. Talerman capitalized on the opportunity and put the ball in the back of the net, giving his team a commanding 2-0 advantage in the first half.
“As you can see we got a bad week of weather. It’s been rainy all day and we knew the ground was going to be skippy and we knew we had to follow and follow our shots. We were going to get one in and I was the lucky one to make the difference,” Talerman said.
Mercer Island scored the first goal of the game in the opening minute when Luca Mtskhetadze found the back of the net. Interlake’s Owen Gortner scored on a header in the 50th minute of play as well. Mercer Island head coach Colin Rigby was jovial following the triumph against Interlake.
“It was actually what our team needed. We needed to prove that we could win gritty games and that was a gritty game. I give a ton of credit to the guys for just sticking with it and not giving up,” Rigby said. “You have to give Interlake a lot of credit because the way that they play, you can never let off. They’re always going to put pressure on you and they’re always going to have opportunities to score. They’re always going to be a challenge. We’re super excited about the result.”
The Saints played the majority of the first half of play on Mercer Island’s side of the field but found themselves trailing by two goals.
“Both halves I thought we gave ourselves lots of chances (to score goals). They (Mercer Island) defended with lots of people behind the ball so they crowded everything right in front of the goal. We figured out a way to get one in but we couldn’t figure out a way to get a second one in,” Interlake head coach Dan Peterson said of his team’s comeback bid. “The last play of the game we hit the post. I really thought Will was going to finish it and he came really close. We gave a great effort and Mercer Island gave a great effort too. It is frustrating but the boys sure played well.”