The Island War is back! After two years of peace between these teams they finally get to battle it out once again. The Bainbridge Spartans and Mercer Island Islanders have collided on the field ten times since 2005. The Islanders having the better record between them winning 7 of the 10 games played. Mercer Island has handily defeated Bainbridge 6 times since the Spartan’s dominating year in 2007 where they defeated the Islanders in a dramatic state championship filled with rivalry.
Bainbridge has yet to score more than 7 points against this championship caliber team having been blown out by over 10 points on multiple occasions. Much is different about these two teams since Mercer Island’s decisive 17-6 victory over the Spartans in 2014. The Islanders had a very strong upperclassman team that year and added a state championship to their record the year after. Only three players remain on roster between both teams since their last meet and they are all with Bainbridge. Returning seniors, attackman Nate Constan, attackman Max Oden and midfielder Randy Shrout will be hungry to return the favor in this year’s battle for the best Island in Seattle.
Lets take a look at these teams in 2014 and how they did in 2016 for a competitive comparison:
172 Points For
143 Points Against
230 Points For
117 Points Against
Mercer Island Islanders
302 Points For
104 Points Against
225 Points For
111 Points Against
The Spartans have dramatically made improvements since, not only tightening up their defense to 117 PA and raising their offense to 230 PF in 9 games surpassing Mercer Island’s total league points in 14 games. This game is a close one to call as Bainbridge graduated 8 of their players last year and Mercer Island graduated their 2015 state championship goalie Ezra Tillinger who shined a beautiful 66% save percentage on 123 shots on goal.
Bainbridge has a real shot at breaking their 7 game losing streak versus Mercer Island as long as they keep their offense at the high pace they had last year. If they can take advantage of the Islander’s less experienced goalie Ian LaCombe who has faced 20 total shots on Varsity, they could put up really competitive numbers. Look for the Islanders to start off fast as Bainbridge has notoriously had a weak defense in the past. If Mercer Island gets off to a fast start, the Spartans could be playing catch-up all night as they try to break their island curse.
Story by Michael Thornbloom