Bellevue Dominates Mercer 13-2, Advances To State Final
Everything was on the line in this semi-final match between these two programs. With a state final appearance on the line, Mercer Island hoped to avenge their loss to the Wolverines at home during the regular season. Bellevue looked to defeat the Islanders again on their home field and make a run into the final. Action favored Bellevue throughout the first quarter. It began with Bellevue’s Drew Douglas feeding Blake Samuel for an easy high heat shot on goalie Carlos Barrios within a minute of the starting whistle.
Mercer Island lacked poise and intensity. Bellevue began to pressure the Islander clear, reminiscent of their previous match up a few weeks ago. Despite the Islander jitters their defense was tough on and off ball, slowing the Wolverine shooters and forcing them to make mistakes. The Islanders utilized a zone defense. Possession time and shot opportunities became strategic to Bellevue’s game. After a Bellevue timeout, the Wolverines made several shot attempts, but Barrios stood strong in cage. The Wolverines were tremendous in generating second chance opportunities and recovering loose balls. Bellevue pushed transition with an unsettled goal by Douglas, opening up a scoring spree. Samuel scored again and then another by Simon Jenkins. With less than two minutes to play, Bellevue slowed tempo controlling possession. They led 4-0 at the end of the first.
The Wolverines were ravenous on loose balls and maintained possession and chipped away at the Islander zone forced turnovers on their clears. The margin widened with Hank Bethke and Douglas tallying goals. Mercer Island was impotent on offense, poor decisions and ball mishandling led to turnovers. Bellevue capitalized as Nick Hutson fed Cole Johnson on the wing for the Wolverines, as they continued their spree. After an Islander timeout, Hayden Reismann drove hard and finally got the Islanders on the board. However, Johnson responded with a quick finish off the next face off. The Wolverines utilized their size and athleticism to outpace the Islanders. Bellevue’s defense was solid, as the Islanders could not beat their one-on-one match ups. Bellevue led with prejudice 8-1 at halftime.
Intensity levels remained the same at the start of the third quarter. Bellevue defense stuffed the Islander dodgers. A nice transition clear by the Wolverines resulted in a pin point pass to Johnson who faked out Barrios. The Wolverines continued to dominate as the Islanders began to falter in all aspects of play, as Johnson scored again. Mercer Island drew an unsportsmanlike penalty as Belleuve extended their led by ten points. The Islanders began to play desperate with Reismann scoring a late bouncer as the Wolverines kept an 11-2 lead at the end of the third.
Bellevue played out the forth quarter after solidifying the endgame early as Cole Johnson, Hunter Lien and Alex Gulrajani found the net. Bellevue’s defense led by All-American Sam Leggett manhandled and controlled the Islander offense throughout the game. While All-American goalie Austin Boyd stonewalled the shooters with 11 saves on 13 shots. A history making game, as Mercer Island lost its first home playoff game since before 2000. Bellevue will play Eastside Catholic in the state final game on Saturday May 28 at Memorial Stadium.