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Bellevue vs. Paloe Verde (NV) - NW Invitational Recap

Bellevue (5-0) handily defeated visiting Las Vegas team, the Palo Verde Panthers, 15-6 in the Northwestern Invitational opener at Mercer Island High School on Friday afternoon in a dominating showing of Bellevue’s deep bench.

The game was all but won by the end of the third quarter when the Wolverines doubled their score from 6-to-12 in the third quarter to send it to the fourth 12-4. Palo Verde was playing well keeping their deficit to three in the first half but this was short lived once Bellevue turned up the heat in the second half forcing their opponents to make too many mistakes to recover as they desperately tried to stay in the game.

Wolverine senior attackman Cameron McMahon and junior midfielder Matthew Marino had a big day with 3 goals a-piece. They haven’t shared a day like this since their season opener against Skyline. This only accounted for a fraction of their final score as their offense had eight different scoring players on the day. This has become a trend with the Wolverines lately with their last three games averaging 9 scoring players per game.

Palo Verde was a great matchup for Bellevue. They have 11 state championships since their inception in 2001 and a 7-1 record within their own league. This was a team that doesn’t get used to losing and Bellevue gave them a rough Friday afternoon winning nearly every face-off and demonstrating great ball security throughout.

Bellevue opened up the game pushing the score to 6-1 before Palo Verde decided to use their first time out with nearly 4 minutes left in the half in order to figure out a way to come out of this hole they were in. They were able to muster up a couple goals by the end of the half putting them in a more comfortable 6-3.

The game took a turn when Bellevue started finding good looks all over Palo Verde’s defense and catching key rebounds for goals as the visiting Panther team couldn’t catch a break. They were quickly outscored 6-1 with McMahon bagging his hat trick by the end of the quarter as the Panthers defense were quickly realizing they were faced against multiple offensive weapons.

The Wolverine’s defenseman were brawlers on the field eager to get in the face of any player with possession of the ball. The Panthers couldn’t find a good look to save their life as they barely were able to see the crease without Bellevue players swallowing them up. Exhausted from all the effort the Panthers sluggishly finished out the game scoring only a couple more goals for a final score of 15-6.

“We focus on us, we do a lot about worrying about the guys who wear blue and gold.” Offensive coordinator Connor Sofield comments on his team’s preparation.

“We work on our fundamentals and worry about things we can control: the foot-work, stick-work, the things that are involved in every play and the things that we know will kind of be the backbone for our success in that upcoming game. We trust if we take care of those things, the chips will fall in our favor.”

Sofield is a new addition to Bellevue head coach John Baumann’s coaching staff bringing east coast lacrosse knowledge to share to the state champs. He plays an integral role in an offense that is surging through their opponents this year seeming unstoppable as they continue to be undefeated.

“We’re worried about taking one step every day regardless of who we’re playing, or who we’re facing: practice, turf, in the parking lot. We kind of stand by that.” Sofield explains some of the recipe for their team’s success. “I’ve seen what our kids are capable of and coach Baumann’s done a very good job of putting fundamentals in the kids.”

The Wolverines are looking poised for another championship this year, and with the new bracket system this season they won’t have to go through any private school teams to get there. Their next conference game will be on the road when they travel to Bothell (0-3) on Tuesday night.