Balance is at the heart of every good offensive threat in any sport. The Mercer Island girls lacrosse team proved that theory true last week by playing three of the toughest teams in the state and winning two games. The two victories came thanks to eight different Mercer Island scorers, giving the team sole possession of the first place in East Division of the varsity A league. The only loss came as the Islander offense became one dimensional.
“It is really nice because the rest of the league thinks we are one dimensional and we proved this week that we don’t have to be,” said Mercer Island coach Meghan Elston. “We can surprise some teams.”
The Islanders began the week with a 7-6 victory on Monday at Islander stadium over division rival Lake Sammamish as four different players scored goals. Caroline Gallop led the Islander team with three goals, Caroline Mahony had two and Erin Gibson and Lauren Ito each contributed one score to the game.
“There are usually two good players on each team but our motto this year is ‘16 strong,’” said Gallop. “We want the entire team to be involved.”
On Wednesday, Mercer Island lost to Bainbridge Island 8-3 as Gallop accounted for all of the away team’s scoring.
“Four of our really tough games this season have been close at halftime,” said Elston. “We need to work on our offense.”
Mercer Island’s game against Forest Ridge on Friday was another close contest at half and uncharacteristically low scoring. The 2-2 tie was not without shot-on-goal during the first 25 minutes of play. Both defenses came up big, but Mercer Island’s Jessica Swarts had six first-half saves out of nine shots taken against the home team.
But the Islanders went on the attack during the second half.
“I told them they had to score,” said Elston. “It was as simple as that.”
Following a Raven goal to open the second half of play, Mahony took the ball from mid field, sprinted past three defenders and slung a pass to Mallory Larson who tied the game 3-3. Larson would score again one minute later as she wrapped her stick around the Forest Ridge goal to put the ball in the back of the net. Mahony also scored a solo goal on the Islander’s ensuing possession to take a 5-3. Mercer Island made the lead stand up thanks to late goals by Larson and Gallop.
“We came into the season unranked and I think it left us with something to prove,” said Gallop.
There is no disputing the Islanders place right now as they hold the top spot in their division including wins over the next two closest teams.
“We need to work on our attack but we gave ourselves a good chance to win the division this week,” said Elston.
The Islanders played Bellevue Tuesday (after Reporter deadline) before going on mid winter break for two weeks. Mercer Island’s next game will be at 4 p.m. on April 18 at home against Roosevelt.