Mercer Island Islanders girls lacrosse head coach Lyndsey Gillis didn’t let a one-goal loss to the Bainbridge Island Spartans in the Washington Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association (WSLA) state championship game dampen her spirits.
The Islanders gave their opponent all they could handle, but Bainbridge Island hung on for a 10-9 win in the state title game on May 18 at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Mercer Island, whose only two losses during the 2018 season occurred against Bainbridge Island, finished a stellar 2018 season with an overall record of 14-2. Mercer Island trailed Bainbridge by three goals twice in the first half but continued to keep themselves in the game with unbridled determination. Bainbridge bolted out to a 3-0 lead with 19:27 left in the first half and led the Islanders 7-4 at halftime.
“Proud is the only word I can use to describe how I feel about this team right now. To be down three goals twice against a team (Bainbridge Island) of that caliber and to fight back both times is just phenomenal,” Gillis said. “Nobody wants to come here and lose the championship but I couldn’t had put together a better loss. These girls fought so hard and they never let anything rattle them against many veteran kids who have been to many state championships and big games before. I couldn’t be more proud of our performance tonight and the way we played together.”
With 4:56 left in regulation, Mercer Island player Grace Fujinaga scored a goal, cutting Bainbridge Island’s lead to 10-9. In the final four minutes of action Bainbridge Island tried to do everything they could to keep possession of the ball. With less than two minutes remaining, the Islanders stole the ball and gained possession. The Islanders offense had the ball deep in Bainbridge territory but couldn’t get off a shot attempt in an effort to tie game before the final buzzer sounded.
“It was certainly exciting,” Gillis said of the final sequence of the game. “It was great to get possession of the ball. We tried to put one more shot together and just couldn’t make it happen which was super unfortunate. We just couldn’t finish that last one.”
Islanders senior Katie Brodsky, who scored three goals in the final lacrosse game of her high school career, was proud of her team for pushing Bainbridge Island to the limit.
“We worked super hard and we didn’t want to give up at all. I don’t think we gave up once, we just keep putting the pressure on them the entire time,” Brodsky said.
Fujinaga also finished the game with three goals in the loss. Claire Underwood scored two goals and Tessa Guerra added one goal as well.