The Mercer Island boys water polo team is optimistic about the season. Photo courtesy of Chris Vacca

The Mercer Island boys water polo team is optimistic about the season. Photo courtesy of Chris Vacca

Mercer Island boys water polo ready to make waves

Islanders tackling difficult schedule to start the season.

  • Friday, October 4, 2019 11:28am
  • Sports

By CHRIS VACCA

Special to the Reporter

The Islanders came into 2019 with some holes to fill from last year’s graduating senior class. Entering the season, senior captains Jacob Swerland and Oliver Schaaf are optimistic about this year’s team. Because the league has become a bit more balanced than in years past, Mercer Island has as good a chance as any to make some waves this year.

The season opened at home against a Roosevelt team that some say could win the state tournament. Mercer Island played a solid overall game with exceptional play by senior goalie Jacob Swerland, but the Islanders came up short losing 15-13.

They split their next two games, beating Ingram and then subsequently losing at home to Bainbridge Island.

The water polo crew then had a local weekend tournament where they went 3-2. With no rest for the Mercer Island team, the Islanders played three games in as many nights against the defending state champion Curtis Vikings, cross-lake rival Bellevue and Newport.

MI brought its “A-game” against Curtis, playing stellar defense and matching their opponent goal for goal in the first half. Curtis pulled away in the second half and eventually won 11-4.

With less than 24 hours of rest, Mercer Island had to be ready to play rival Bellevue. With the help of a hyped-up crowd, the Islanders got out to a dominating 5-0 lead. Bellevue chipped and clawed its way back into the game. In the end, Mercer Island was too strong for the Wolverines, winning 18-10. Mercer Island was led by junior Max Vacca, who had eight goals. The student section was standing-room only and once the final whistle blew, the whole student body rallied and made a tsunami-type wave when all jumped into the pool to celebrate the win over Bellevue.

Still trying to catch its breath from playing eight games in four days, Mercer Island was back in the pool facing a strong Newport team. Mercer Island came out strong to start the game. It was an even match until the fourth quarter, with the Islanders finding themselves down 11-7. The Islanders fought back to get the game to 11-10, with a key counter goal by senior Justin Jradi, but Newport held on to secure the win.

The Islanders will trek down Interstate 5 to face the Curtis Vikings again on Oct. 10.

[flipp]

More in Sports

Three Mercer Island baseball players compete at showcase in Arizona

Mercer Island residents Austin Cupic, Marques Abulhosn and Max Clark competed at… Continue reading

Islanders finish first at boys swim and dive districts

The Mercer Island boys swim and dive team finished first at the… Continue reading

Islanders claim KingCo crown

The Mercer Island boys basketball team dominated Interlake, 61-36, in 3A KingCo championship.

Four Mercer Island wrestlers qualify for regionals

Four Mercer Island wrestlers qualified for the regional wrestling tournament on Feb.… Continue reading

Mercer Island girls basketball season ends in tiebreaker

The Islanders lost to Bellevue and Interlake in tiebreaker games on Feb. 8.

Whipple gets back into the pool despite blood-flow disorder

The Mercer Island senior was diagnosed with POTS before the season.

Harper sets American powerlifting records at 75 years old

Robert Harper had a record-setting performance at the USA Powerlifting Nationals in October 2019.

Mercer Island basketball teams find success at holiday tournaments

The Mercer Island boys and girls basketball teams both went to out-of-state… Continue reading

Talented group of freshmen off to a fast start for Islanders

The Mercer Island boys swim and dive team has 16 freshmen on board.

Most Read