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Woodinville vs. Mercer Island - Game Recap

The Mercer Island Islanders (4-1) secured a much needed conference win and first half shutout against the visiting Woodinville Falcons (2-3) in a 12-5 game at Mercer Island High School on Friday night.

This was an impressive defensive game for a growing Islander team that shutout a tough Woodinville squad in the first half as they found their rhythm in the second quarter bringing their lead 5-0 before halftime. Woodinville was unable to keep pace even after getting themselves on the board in the latter part of the game resulting in an eventual 12-5 defeat.

Islander’s senior attackman Charlie Rowe completed his hat-trick in the final quarter as he lead his team with three goals in their win. This team put much of their focus on sharing the ball as they ended the night with seven scoring players and seven total assists.

Their shutout came with the help of an airtight zone defense and four key saves by sophomore goalie Tynan Drayton. His perfect save percentage dropped to 58% by the end of the game but nothing will take away from his first half steel curtain.

It was a beautiful night for Lacrosse as Washington experienced its warmest day of the year last Friday. Both teams started strong, feeling each other out for the first nine minutes, neither gaining a goal on the other. Mercer Island broke the silence when sophomore midfielder Stew Vassau squeezed a tight shot into the cage before the second quarter.

After a failed Woodinville scoring attempt in the beginning of the second quarter, Mercer Island set up a play and exuded more patience on offense to an eventual running shot goal by senior midfielder Mitchell Mandt. At this point, momentum was growing and it was obvious.

The Falcons failed another offensive strike and the Islanders made them pay for it harshly when Drayton quickly cleared the ball to have it fed to sophomore midfielder Donnie Howard for a demoralizing goal on an unsettled defense putting them up 3-0 with less than eight minutes in the half.

The Islanders carried this momentum into the third quarter sitting at 7-0 before Woodinville finally got themselves on the board. The Falcons were clearing the ball and maintaining possession well throughout but severely struggled to get to the crease or find a suitable opening in this revamped Islander zone defense.

They would make some adjustments calling key time-outs but nothing appeared to make much of a difference. Mercer Island seemed so confident out there with their sticks held high and constant communication throughout. The Falcons pressed and pressed but more pressure was needed with not enough time as the game winded down to a 12-5 final score.

The Islanders needed this win most of all, coming off a rough trip from Philadelphia averaging only five goals a game and allowing an average of 15 goals.

“We talked about it in Philadelphia, we needed to make a lot of improvements after our trip, which was a really tough week.” Co-head coach Chris Long said. “We learned a lot that trip and I think we saw it tonight. We had a game-plan coming into the game and we had the right personnel and it paid off for us.”

Long shares head coaching duties with Ian O’Hearn who spent a lot of time with their defense after an ego-striking trip to Pennsylvania. Whatever O’Hearn did, it worked.

“Coach O’Hearn did a great job this week of putting in improvements to our zone defense and it really showed in the first half.” Long continues. “The sticks were up, people were flying after balls, people were pressuring on rides, he did a great job getting the defense ready for this week keeping the goals down to zero in the first half.”

Woodinville moves to 2-3 as they now sit at third in their 4A KinCo conference making their upcoming game at Eastlake next Thursday night even more crucial with a play-off berth hanging in the balance. Mercer Island will sit comfortably with a 4-1 record as they prepare to travel to Bellevue High School to face the defending champs on Wednesday night.

Story by Michael Thornbloom

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