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Mercer Island vs Bellevue - 3A State Championship Recap

The Bellevue Wolverines win their second straight State Championship against the Mercer Island Islanders in an 8-6 battle to the finish at Starfire Field on Saturday. Story by Michael Thornbloom.

The Wolverines put up three goals in the first quarter only giving up one goal to Mercer Island off an EMO. Bellevue’s defense was tough from the start preventing Mercer Island from putting anything together offensively. Bellevue continued to shut down the Islanders only allowing a single goal to end the quarter 3-1.

The second opened much like the first with a Bellevue goal by junior midfielder Quinn Sullivan. It was looking like Mercer Island was having issues keeping up with Bellevue’s speed as the Wolverines kept pouncing on every opportunity. The Islanders started to pick up the pace now that they were three goals down finding a pair of goals and getting an EMO in the process. Their biggest edge in this game against Bellevue were the penalties that were called but they failed their EMO in the second quarter and missed a key opportunity to tie the game.

The second half became about as gritty as any lacrosse championship would with both teams beating each other up and down the field for the first six minutes. Each team’s respective defenses appeared to be well matched in this game as the Islanders were trying desperately to gain a lead. Bellevue was doing great at moving the ball all game keeping the Islander defense guessing. This allowed for their fifth goal to make it 5-3 and once Mercer Island had possession the Wolverines were swarming the player that had the rock forcing a time-out call by head coach Ian O’Hearn.

Shortly after the time-out they were awarded their third EMO of the game off a pushing penalty on Bellevue. These opportunities were keeping the Islanders in the game as junior attackman Glen Mahony was able to fine his second goal of the game bringing them a goal away from tying yet again. With thirty seconds left of play the Wolverines tried for one last goal before the final quarter but a great save by goalie Tynan Drayton kept the Islanders in a prime position heading into the fourth.

Less than a minute in the Islanders get their fourth EMO, an opportunity that could have put them in position to take control of this game. Bellevue was adamant about maintaining this lead riding the Islanders very hard ultimately pulling a penalty from Mercer Island that brought them even. It was at this moment that the Islanders began to melt down committing four penalties in total during the fourth and giving the Wolverines too much space to work with.

Bellevue failed their EMO’s but still put together three goals in the span of five minutes taking a commanding 8-4 lead with less than five minutes left of play. The Islanders were having a difficult time getting through such a tough defense from Bellevue but were able to string together two more goals before the game ended 8-6 crowning the Wolverines as State Champions.

Wolverine sophomore attackman Carter Laws lead his team with three goals in this game. Senior All-American’s attackman Paul Johnson (2g, 2a) and attackman Thomas Heed (2g, 1a) combined for four goals making up half their final score. Islander junior attackman Hunter Johnson and junior attackman Glen Mahony combined for four goals with Johnson’s goals coming in the final quarter.

For head coach Nick Welton this year was about getting the best run he possibly could from his guys. With a perfect 8-0 conference record and 14-2 overall, I’d say this goal was soundly met. “I feel happy about the work that we did but really I think the credit goes to the guys because they’ve been grinding for a long time.” Said Welton. He doesn’t just mean this season, these boys have been playing this game since they were in youth sports and achieving the dream of state champions is what Welton wants to bring to them.

“These guys put in hours and hours of dedication and they wanted it and they worked hard.” Said Welton. “Even when that is a forecast away, to achieve something that you work years for is something pretty special.” There’s nothing more special than achieving a goal you have worked towards for years. Congratulations to the Bellevue Wolverines on another amazing and memorable year.

Story by Michael Thornbloom.