The Mercer Island girls lacrosse team came into the season with the mantra “16 strong,” meaning that every player was important to the success of the team. It may have seemed like all 16 Mercer Island players were on the field at once to Bellevue on Wednesday, as the Islanders came away with one of the most lopsided victories, 20-0, in the history of the program.
“We’re playing with confidence and taking each game as it comes,” said Islander Monique Schrieber. “We know what each other is doing at all times.”
All those players must have seemed like a swarm of bees to the Wolverine goalkeeper as the Islanders out-shot Bellevue 40-3, including a complete shutout through the final 30 minutes of the game.
“We have really began to click on transitions and every player is contributing to the wins,” said Islander senior Caroline Gallup.
The Islanders didn’t need to worry too much about their transitions from defense to offense against Bellevue as they attacked the Wolverine’s net over and over again. But it wasn’t just one or two players putting the ball in the back of the Bellevue net. Four players finished the game with a hat trick and 10 Islanders scored during the contest. Caroline Mahony led all scorers with four goals, while Gallup, Erin Gibson and Victoria Bachman had three each. Islander Nana Ito scored twice and Lauren Ito, Jenny Jobe, Mallory Larson, Carrie McKee and Monique Schrieber all scored once.
The goals also came in every way possible. The first goal was a weak miss shot that trickled through the Bellevue goalkeeper’s legs. But there were also bounce shots, rocket shots, corner shots, ricochet shots, penalty shots, deceptive shots and even shots meant as passes that wound up in the Bellevue net. The game began to take on a aura of target practice instead of competition.
The only thing that seemed to stop the Islanders were themselves, as Mercer Island girls lacrosse coach Meghan Elston got frustrated with her players stepping out of bounds, behind the Bellevue goal, five times.
“This wasn’t much of a game but it gave us a chance to put what we do in practice to work in a game situation,” said Elston.
The Islanders began the game with Gallup scoring three of the first six goals of the game. Mahony then took over with her stick and her legs. With a sizable lead on the scoreboard, Mahony took a pass at midfield and sprinted past two defenders, taking a point-blank shot to extend the lead to 7-0. The score began a string of four consecutive goals by Mahony that put the Islanders ahead for good.
The win came on the heels of an 8-8 tie with Lake Sammamish, a team vying for the Islanders’ league lead, on April 24.
“We both played so well,” said Elston. “Neither team ever had more than a two-point lead.”
The tie keeps the Islanders on top of the East division and in line for a bye during the first round of the state tournament.
“They are so hungry that they can taste it,” said Elston.
That hunger for victories stems from the team being slighted during the preseason.
“We weren’t even ranked coming into the season,” said Gallup. “We are so ready for the playoffs. We want to prove it was a mistake to overlook us.”
The Islanders travel to Forrest Ridge at 4 p.m. today. With a win, Mercer Island can clinch the division title with a victory. The team will play at Lakeside at 4:15 p.m. on Friday and closeout the season on May 8 against Overlake at Islander stadium.