The Eastside Catholic Crusaders snap their two-game losing streak in a revitalizing 20-12 performance against the Mercer Island Islanders on Friday night at Mercer Island High School.
This game was not completely out of the reach for the Islanders for the majority of the game never falling behind by more than four goals by the fourth quarter. The game fell apart for them after a failed extra man play and a devastating 8-goal run in the final quarter exhausting the young Islander team to their 20-12 defeat.
The Crusader’s furious four landed another huge night scoring 18-of-20 goals. Senior attackman Ryan Grazko, junior midfielder Joey Matte, junior midfielder Jack Sercu and sophomore attackman Eric Prologo have been the backbone of this offense all year together averaging 13.8 goals in nine games.
Sophomore attackman’s Scotty Rowe and Hunter Johnson recorded three goals each making up half of their team’s total score. This team is in a growing period with their underclassman squad accounting for all but six of their in-conference goals.
Eastside Catholic secured an early 3-1 lead in the first quarter, an improvement from their previous two games. Their offense appeared to be clicking on every possession as they were finding feeds all over the crease running the score up 8-4 to end the half before the Islander’s could catch their breath.
A 4-goal deficit was not unreachable for a team like Mercer Island. They rallied together putting up two goals in the first few minutes and capitalizing on an extra man play bringing their deficit to two. Sercu was on fire at this point in the game grabbing his third goal and assisting Prologo in another to bring it 11-8 to start the fourth quarter.
Mercer Island ran out of answers to stop this team when they painfully watched the Crusader’s score five unanswered goals in the next seven minutes taking every bit of wind out the Islander’s sail to an eventual 20-12 defeat.
The Crusader’s needed this win after losing their previous two games, both by just one goal. It can be difficult to keep young athletes from getting discouraged but head coach Charles Goodman knows how to keep them focused.
“We spent from Friday to Wednesday to tonight, we really talked a lot about getting back to all of our values.” Goodman comments on his rallying efforts. “We talked about taking care of the little things, we talked about playing with love, playing like a family, playing for our brother’s on the left and right of us.”
Playing like a family is an important value he coaches with his team as the chemistry between the players is apparent. The Crusader’s have powerful weapons on the offensive side of the field and Goodman has help in exploiting their talents.
“They’ve all been playing lacrosse for a very long time, they all have very strong IQ’s. Our offensive coordinator, Mike Pittas, has done an amazing job at crafting an offense that really plays to their strengths.”
Eastside Catholic will be back on conference schedule when they host the O’Dea Fighting Irish (3-2) Tuesday night. Mercer Island heads to the east coast for spring break stopping in Pennsylvania to face some of the toughest high school lacrosse teams in the country.