MIHS boys lacrosse squad scores state title

Confidence reigned supreme for the Mercer Island High School (MIHS) boys lacrosse team this season.

The Islanders knew throughout the entire campaign that they possessed the talent to notch the 3A state title, according to senior captain and midfielder Max Youssefnia.

That goal of winning it all came to fruition with an MIHS 11-7 victory over Bellevue in the state championship final on May 27 at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. Earlier in the playoffs, MIHS beat Lincoln, 19-1, in the quarterfinals on May 20 and defeated Mt. Spokane, 17-2, in the semis on May 24.

“On Saturday (May 27), we were firing on all cylinders. All the guys were playing really well, and when we were scoring, we felt like nobody could stop us,” said Youssefnia, who netted the first three goals and was joined on the scoresheet by teammates Callum Iverson with three goals, Dylan Shobe and Peyton Jordan with two goals each and Matthew Loeser with one goal.

Youssefnia gave an immense nod to goalkeeper Leander Schatz for registering some crucial saves in the second half of the title game, which was close for the initial three quarters until MIHS took control toward the end. The locals fell behind early in the game, led 6-4 at halftime and never trailed the rest of the way.

With a large, loud crowd on hand during the final, Youssefnia said the environment could have been overwhelming for those unaccustomed to playing in that realm. The MIHS captains told their teammates to play loose, self-assured and to have fun competing in front of their excited throng of fans.

They fed off the crowd amid the electric environment and brought home a championship trophy. When the tight-knit squad arrived back on the Island, the players hung out at a team member’s house and soaked up the victory and their stellar season that concluded with them sporting a 19-4 record.

Next up for Youssefnia, he’ll be continuing his academic and lacrosse journey at Amherst College in Massachusetts. He plans to major in economics and carry the perseverance and grit he absorbed on the high school lacrosse field onto the college scene.

The boys varsity squad is led by longtime head coach Ian O’Hearn, who also serves as program director for the Mercer Island Lacrosse Club (MILC). Founded in 1993, the club’s values are loyalty, tradition and discipline, according to its website.

“MILC’s values are a foundation of our organization’s recognized excellence,” the site reads, adding in its inclusion statement, in part: “We believe that representation and participation by all in our Mercer Island community adds significant value to the lacrosse experience for each of us. Everyone is welcome and valued here.”

For more information, visit https://www.mercerislandlacrosse.com/

Mercer Island High School fans were out in droves to support the boys lacrosse team on May 27. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island School District

Mercer Island High School fans were out in droves to support the boys lacrosse team on May 27. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island School District