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Eastlake vs Bellevue - Game Recap

The Bellevue Wolverines fend off a physical Eastlake Wolves team in a gritty 8-4 game at Bellevue High School on Wednesday night.

Bellevue put the hurt on Eastlake early with two goals in the first three minutes of the game effectively shutting them out in the first quarter as well. Eastlake responded with a goal early in the second quarter keeping it competitive only to have the Wolverines respond with three more to close out the half 5-1. Great lead against a tough team but this pack of wolves are not known for going down easy.

The Eastlake Wolves, led by head coach Chris O’Dougherty, has grown a reputation for tough, in-your-face, physical play. They began laying on the hurt against their Bellevue rivals with aggressive stick and body checks up and down the field. This made for a gritty third quarter that only resulted in a goal from each team before they reached the final quarter. With the score reading 6-2 on the board, it only made the Wolves ravenous as they were clearly determined to rip and claw for the ball at any chance they could.

By this point emotions were running high from the players, coaches and even fans in the stands were screaming as this game was quickly heating up. This Wolverine team stepped up to the challenge as they expertly put up two more goals in the first two minutes of the final quarter, nearly unchallenged. Eastlake senior midfielder Hunter Klinge (2g, 1a) was like a hockey enforcer out there as he also grabbed his second unassisted goal shortly after Bellevue’s two-goal run. This kid was not only physical but he was playing a tough mental game as he was repeatedly trying to goat his opponents to make mistakes and create opportunities for his team, and it was beginning to work.

With all this drama floating around Bellevue turf, it was only a matter of time before something blew up. With four minutes left in the game, an altercation broke out between both teams following a hard hit on Eastlake’s side of the field. This prompted two Bellevue players to rush out to the field (which may have simply been an ill-timed transition substitution) to help their fellow teammates only to have it backfire and put both of them in the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. This allowed Eastlake to follow up with one more goal before the clock ran out with an 8-4 final score, Bellevue.

Wolverine senior attackman Thomas Heed wrapped up the game with three goals, two of which came with the help of senior attackman Paul Johnson (2a, 1gb). Junior goalie Ethan Schiller closed up this game for his team at a tough moment when they were down by multiple players from the late game unsporting calls. His job became more important than ever following the penalties and he successfully saved 5-of-6 shots on goal, effectively fending off a pack of angry wolves.

Bellevue is on a real hot streak this year coming off their 3A State Championship last season. They’re 6-0 overall, including games against Skyline, O’Dea and handily defeating their out-of-state visitors in the NWI putting their current per game averages at 11 goals and 3.33 goals allowed.

“They are a group of guys who have played with each other for a long time and want to achieve something great.” said Bellevue head coach Nick Welton. “They come out everyday hard and ready to work, and that’s the same mentality we take into the games.” Eastlake moves to 2-1 as they mark their first conference loss of the season and prepare to leave for Southern California for a 4-game lacrosse circuit. Bellevue moves to 3-0, sharing the top rank in KingCo with Mercer Island as they prepare to host Mount Si on Friday.

They will need to keep their eye on the Islanders who are actually boasting stronger offensive numbers this year than Bellevue, and look twice as focused as last year, coming off their 3A State Championship loss to you know who. They will clash on the final game of the season on May 4, if you had anything planned to do that day, cancel it.

Story by Michael Thornbloom