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2019 Playoff Preview

The sun is out, the snow has been long melted and the 2019 Washington High School Boys Lacrosse regular season is officially in the books. This great weather we’re having is going to be nicely complimented with some great playoff round one action. For all you 4A fans out there, you won’t have to wait an entire week to see your favorite team as there are no first round byes for that division. The first round is typically a weekend filled with lopsided victories but below you will see where you can find the best matchups this weekend.

Here’s a top five ranking of the games that will likely be the most competitive:

#1 Wenatchee Thunder @ Tahoma Bears
#2 Issaquah Eagles @ Richland Bombers
#3 Eastside Catholic Crusaders @ Gonzaga Prep Bullpups
#4 Bellarmine Prep Lions @ Archbishop Murphy Wildcats
#5 Snohomish Panthers @ Ballard Beavers

Now let us dive into every game we have this weekend, find your favorite team and see what you can expect. The road to Starfire starts here!

Friday May 10

3A

7:00pm - Juanita (6-3) @ Stadium (6-6)

Much better year for the Juanita Rebels finishing 6-3 while having the second most overall goals in 3A KingCo averaging 10 goals a game and a 5-4 win over Bellevue earlier in the season. Stadium finishes top in 3A Puget-Pierce for the second year in a row but a slightly worse record since the Puget Sound and Pierce County conferences merged. Having to face stronger competition makes a stronger team making Stadium a wild card going into this round as they are likely a much different team from years past. Their defense allowed 46 more goals than they scored so they’ll have to tighten that up against a Juanita team looking to run deep this year.

7:15pm - Snohomish (3-3) @ Ballard (1-3)

This match has the makings to be a close one with both teams having played 13 overall games this season but Snohomish holding a slight edge with a defense that averaged 7 allowed goals. Ballard and Snohomish have had their shots at some D1 schools this year but Ballard lost all of them be nearly 10 goals or more while Snohomish was able to squeak out a win against the Issaquah Eagles and nearly beat Woodinville earlier in the season in overtime. Ballard is a good team but Snohomish has a notable edge here but with it being playoffs, it’s still anyone's game.

4A

6:30pm - Kamiak (6-2) @ Skyline (6-3)

Tough matchup for Kamiak against a very tough Skyline squad that has been consistently a championship contender for years. Within their own conference, Kamiak has done well scoring 129 goals in 11 games and only allowing 50 at the same time. Their defense will need to bring it even harder in this one if they are to pull off the upset against the Spartans who have averaged nearly 12 goals against one of the toughest conferences Washington State has to offer.

7:00pm - Sumner (6-4) @ Glacier Peak (5-1)

Top team in 4A Wesco, the Glacier Peak Grizzlies, faces off against third ranked 4A Puget-Pierce the Sumner Spartans. This could be another tight match with both teams having similar strengths in their schedule. Sumner has to face the Tahoma Bears twice a year, a team that has been in championship contention for the past few seasons. The Spartans will have a lot to bring against the Grizzlies but the Glacier Peak has proven that they are able to beat 3A Wesco’s top ranked team, the Stanwood Spartans, twice this year showing that no Spartan is safe against them. With both team’s stats looking very similar, this game could one of the closest ones to come out of the first round.

Saturday May 11

1A/2A

10:00am - Columbia River (5-3) @ West Valley (6-6)

The only 1A/2A game to be played in the first round will also start off with last year’s state championship runner up, the Columbia River Chieftains, facing off against a West Valley team who was two goals short of getting into the semis last year. Columbia River proved last year that any team can get into the finals when they went into the playoffs 2-4 but upset the Liberty Patriots in OT and coming three goals away from hoisting the trophy. West Valley plays tough but it’ll be interesting to see if the Chieftains have some more surprises in this year’s playoff run.

3A

2:00pm - Gig Harbor (9-3) @ Hermiston (4-6)

This is the first time both these teams have made it into the first round of the playoffs with Gig Harbor always needing to play a preliminary playoff game to earn their spot due to Peninsula being the top ranked team in the Olympic Conference. They put themselves in the first round in a 15-0 shutout game against Mountain View giving them a lot of momentum heading to Hermiston High School. Hermiston landed here by default since Southridge didn’t have a single league game recorded on their record despite paying 13 total games. This could be Gig Harbor’s chance to make it further down the road to Starfire as long as they don’t get complacent and underestimate their opponent.

5:00pm - Squalicum (7-1) @ Bellevue (7-2)

Bellevue has won the last three state championships in a row, albeit with two different coaches but it speaks volumes to the level of competition this club brings every year. What is interesting about this year is that the last time Bellevue has had two losses on their conference record was back in 2012 when the league was separated into Northeast and Southwest conferences. Although an interesting statistic, it’s not to be mistaken for weakness as Head Coach Nick Welton always lead this team with high amounts of discipline. Squalicum has had a really good year with a 10-4 overall record but their strength in schedule is not where it should be if they want to have a chance at the champs. Looking like it could be just another day at the office for Welton and his Wolverines.

4A

11:15am - Mead (5-7) @ Curtis (8-2)

The Mead Panthers get their first playoff berth since joining the WHSBLA last year finishing second ranked in the 4A Greater Spokane conference. Their first playoff game isn’t coming easy as 4A Puget Sound teams have typically done well in the playoffs, specifically the Curtis Vikings and Tahoma Bears. In the past two season Cutis has won their first round so Mead will need to keep bringing in the new by coming away with an upset if they want move forward.

12:00pm - South Kitsap (7-5) @ Skyview (8-0)

Skyview had an outstanding year with a 13-1 overall record averaging nearly 13 goals a game and allowing an average 3 goals a game. Being a southern Washington team, they don’t get to have many chances to play any KingCo or Metro teams but they did secure a convincing 13-2 win over the Bothell Cougars in early April. South Kitsap will have their work cut out for them but with 15 total games under their belt this season and a similar goal average as their opponent, they could pull out a win. South Kitsap fought their way into the first round having to go through Auburn Riverside so they’ll need to use that momentum to put Skyview on their heels early and take any advantage they can.

12:00pm - Woodinville (4-5) @ Central Valley (8-4)

Central Valley enjoyed a great season but their strength of schedule is considerably weaker than their strong 4A KingCo opponent. Head Coach Pete Crowley has proved in the past couple years that getting to the semi-finals is not nearly as tough as winning the semi-finals. The Falcons are the clear favorites here as they’ve outscored their first two round opponents in the last two years 50-18. Only a KingCo team has stopped them short but there is always room for Central Valley to change the trend.

4:00pm - Issaquah (3-6) @ Richland (10-0)

This will be the third time in three years that the Issaquah Eagles have had to face a Central Conference team in the playoffs. They’re 1-1 having been outscored 14-18 in those combined games, both having been against the Wenatchee Thunder. Richland has always been a top ranked team in the Central Conference but now they get their own shot at Issaquah as they’re currently 0-2 against KingCo teams in the playoffs in the past two years. Richland put up monster numbers this year with 225 goals in 16 games and being completely undefeated overall. They should have the edge here against the Eagles as Issaquah has mostly struggled offensively having six games with five goals or less.

5:00pm - Camas (5-3) @ Eastlake (8-1)

Camas has yet to win a playoff game in the first round in the past two years but this make their third playoff berth. Richland was the one to send them home each year and it’s only gotten harder for them as they look to face the defending 4A State Champs in their home turf. It’ll take anything short of a miracle for Camas to pull of this upset as Eastlake has been looking poised to write that dynasty Head Coach Chris O’Dougherty has been hunting. The Wolves have looked outstanding this year having beat O’Dougherty’s longtime target, the Bellevue Wolverines, and securing the top ranked spot in 4A KingCo for the second year in a row.

5:00pm - Wenatchee (8-2) @ Tahoma (10-0)

Probably the best matchup of the entire weekend is in this game with the Wenatchee Thunder travelling to the Puget Sound to face the mighting Tahoma Bears. This is our rematch from last year’s quarterfinals where the Bears beat out the Thunder 9-5 in the closest 4A quarterfinal game that year. This game will likely bring the same level of excitement with both teams being heavily seasoned playoff opponents with playoff wins under their belts. If someone was looking for a heated playoff game to attend, this would be the one.

PV

10:00am - Eastside Catholic (2-7) @ Gonzaga Prep (12-0)

Gonzaga Prep is invited to the playoffs every year thanks to the playoff berthing rules clinching the lone Greater Spokane Private team. What might be lucky for them is they’re about to face an Eastside Catholic team that is heavily in transition under new Head Coach Athan Iannucci. Losing to Seattle Academy to be placed in the bottom Private Metro seeding is a bit of a surprise considering the prestigious record this team has held. This could be a ripe opportunity for Gonzaga Prep to move beyond the first round for the first time in three years.

6:00pm - Bellarmine Prep (4-6) @ Archbishop Murphy (3-5)

Another potentially close match-up that could go either way between these two private school opponents. Bellarmine Prep will come into this as the favorite with an offense that has a slightly higher average goals per game but only by a goal. With how tough the competition is in the Private Division, this could be one of their few opportunities to walk away with a playoff win. Regardless, the competition between the two of them will be good and they will likely fight as if this game determines the State Champion.

First Round Byes
1A/2A
Sehome @ Vashon
Montesano @ Orting
North Kitsap @ Burlington-Edison
Liberty
3A
Stanwood
Peninsula
Bainbridge
Mercer Island
PV
Seattle Academy
Seattle Prep
Lakeside
O’Dea

By Micahel Thornbloom

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