There was no boisterous celebration following the Mercer Island Islanders convincing 2-0 victory against the Bonney Lake Panthers in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs on Nov. 6.
The Islanders, who won the Class 3A state championship during the 2017 season, are determined to hoist a state championship trophy at Sparks Stadium for the second consecutive season.
“It is not like were jumping for joy or anything. We got a mission and that mission is to get back to Sparks Stadium (site of the Class 3A state semifinals and finals),” Mercer Island head coach James Valles said. “Until we get there, it is going to be business as usual and just another game and another opponent.”
Mercer Island senior Elaina Martin scored the first goal of the game in the 23rd minute, giving the Islanders a 1-0 lead. Mercer Island defender Ashley Rudd connected on a free kick from 25 yards out, putting the ball on the ground into the lower left corner of the goal in the 26th minute, lengthening the lead to 2-0.
Mercer Island keeper Amy Braman, who had a difficult save on a Bonney Lake shot attempt in the 72nd minute, was thrilled to see Rudd score the proverbial insurance goal in the 26th minute.
“I was so happy that went in because I saw it go through the wall,” Braman said of watching the goal being scored from nearly 90 yards away. “I’m so glad it went in because I like to win.”
The Islanders will host Prairie at 3 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the Class 3A state quarterfinals. Braman believes her team will rise to the occasion in the quarterfinal matchup.
“I’m just hoping we don’t underestimate any team because every team deserves to be here. We have a lot of confidence because we know we’re good and we deserve to be here,” Braman said.