Photo courtesy of Rick Edelman/Rick Edelman Photography Mercer Island midfielder Jackie Stenberg, right, passes the ball to one of her teammates via a header against the Sammamish Totems on Sept. 14 in Bellevue.

Islanders remain undefeated, shutout Totems

A perfect record is still completely intact for the Mercer Island Islanders girls soccer team.

Mercer Island registered a 3-0 victory against the Sammamish Totems on Sept. 14 at Sammamish High School in Bellevue. Kendall Riley, Jackie Gilroy and Emily Yang each recorded a goal apiece in the convincing victory. Mercer Island (3-0 overall) has scored eight goals and hasn’t surrendered a goal thus far during the 2017 season. The Totems dropped to 1-1-2 with the loss. Islanders’ head coach James Valles, who is in his first season as the leader of the Islanders program, was thrilled to see his team’s ability to share the ball on display.

“I’m happy with the balanced scoring. We are an attacking them and we try to move the ball around. We could had played better but we’re pretty happy with the result,” Valles said.

Valles, who previously coached soccer at the club level the past few seasons, is thrilled to be back on the sidelines at the high school level. Valles said he last coached high school soccer at Lindbergh High School three years ago.

“I really like coaching high school soccer. This is a great team. I kind of got lucky. I’m pretty happy,” Valles said of landing the Islanders head coaching position.

Valles was impressed his team remained focused on the Sammamish game with their matchup against one of their biggest rivals looming on the schedule on Sept. 19.

“I think when you have success at the beginning of the season its important that we don’t look ahead to other games. We have Bellevue (Sept. 19) next week. We talked about making sure we were focused on Sammamish and we were,” he said.

Totems’ head coach Darryl Gonyea was proud of his team’s performance despite the loss. The Totems had several solid opportunities to score goals against the Islanders. Two of the Totems’ shots on goal caromed off the crossbar.

“We had a really good practice yesterday (Sept. 13). They had a lot of questions on defensive positioning. I was really proud of the way they absorbed the information. We did a really good job of marking (covering players) which led to us building some confidence, especially in the first half,” Gonyea said. “We’re turning a corner. Most of these girls have been with the team for awhile now. I told them to forget the scoreboard because I thought it was a positive step in the right direction tonight. We’ll get those bounces to go our way if we keep playing the way we are playing.”

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