A 10-day layoff had no adverse effects on the Mercer Island boys soccer team in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs against the Shorecrest Scots.
Mercer Island, which captured a KingCo 3A championship with a 2-1 win against Lake Washington on May 6, dominated in all phases of the game in a convincing 5-0 victory against Shorecrest in a Class 3A loser-out state playoff game on May 16 at Mercer Island High School. The Islanders will face the Garfield Bulldogs in the Class 3A quarterfinals.
The Islanders bolted out to a 3-0 lead in the first half. Mitch Graesser (12th minute), Emil Talerman (20th minute) and Lucas Meek (31st minute) recorded goals in the first 40 minutes of play. Two of the Islanders goals in the first half came on set pieces. Talerman scored via a header off of a corner-kick and Meek scored on a header via a perfect pass on a free kick by Ian Onrust.
In the second half, Hunter Bauman (59th minute) and Mitchell Meade (79th minute) each scored a goal to round out a dominating performance on the pitch. Bauman, who scored his goal after faking out two Shorecrest defenders with crafty footwork, said his team was eager to get back on the field after the long layoff.
“It was pretty stressful,” Bauman said of the wait for the state playoffs to begin. “You go to sleep at night and you are just wanting that next game to come. When it finally does you just have to come out with all of your energy. I think we did that. We really wanted it. We just came out and got it done. We wanted to win and we just did our work and did everything we needed to do.”
Meek thought having a week-and-a-half off was just what the doctor ordered for his squad.
“I think the 10 days really helped us. We were able to heal a lot of injuries. That was really key for us. A lot of our guys went down in those last couple of games (KingCo tournament). It was really good for us to get that break,” Meek said. “Everything is really working on all cylinders at the moment. It is a really good feeling to have this momentum at this time of the season.”
The Islanders are just three games away from hoisting a state championship trophy.
“Before this game, our coach told us we were 320 minutes away from being a state champion. Now it’s going to be 240 minutes,” Meek said. “It is just going to keep winding down. Obviously we are looking to win a state championship but that next game (quarterfinals) is first. We’re focused on the next game.”