junkies on overload this past Saturday… Memorial Day weekend has long been the
lacrosse enthusiast’s mecca as the home of the NCAA
championships. With the WHSBLA
championships taking place the same weekend this season it made it impossible
to follow all that was going on. Thank
goodness for DVR, On-Demand, smart phones and everything else technology is
capable of these days!
The Division I Stroll…
stories from the week that was:
- Bainbridge recovered from a midseason loss
to Issaquah and a fairly recent dismantling from Mercer Island to regroup
and stick it to Issaquah in the semifinals to earn another shot at the
Islanders. In the semis,
Bainbridge’s pressure defense and methodical offense drove the Spartans
to a 5-1 halftime lead before running away with it in the 3rd
quarter. Bainbridge led 10-1 late
in the 3rd before Issaquah showed an
real offensive prowess. In other
words, the game wasn’t nearly as close as the final score (13-9) would
- Predictably, Mercer Island earned the other
spot in the finals though once again Bellevue made it much closer than
many thought they could.
- Congratulations to King’s Way on being
honored with the 2011 Division Sportsmanship Award. In addition, Mercer Island’s Brian
Bernstein and Northshore’s Miles Sokol were named Academic All-Americans.
- On paper the final was
oddly historic and mismatched at the same time. In part historic because Mercer Island
and Bainbridge Island are the two most storied programs in Washington
lacrosse history, yet the two hadn’t met in the finals since 2007. Mismatched because the Islanders
throttled the Spartans 18-3 just a few weeks ago. You had to know that the earlier score
was somewhat of a fluke and this title game would come down to the
end. Things started much better
for Bainbridge this time around as a solid first possession ended in
Cameron Parker finding Jacob Knotsman on the
crease for pretty catch and finish.
However, not much else would get by Islander netminder,
Brian Bernstein and Bainbridge wouldn’t score again for nearly 30 minutes
of game clock. On Mercer’s first
possession, the moment Doug Mahony carried the
ball top center to take a run the Spartans
quickly dropped into a zone. The
Islanders responded by shifting into a bit of 1-4-1 set and managed to
move the ball quick enough to allow Zach Stickney room to put a lefty
bouncer past Spartan freshman, Reynolds Yarbrough. The next few Islander possessions were
very similar as Bainbridge continued to try and drop into a zone when the
Islanders would carry up top. The
plan backfired as it turned into back-to-back replays, Mahony to Shields.
Mahony simply dodged straight ahead into
the zone, got it to collapse and simply dumped the ball straight ahead to
Matt Shields popping out on the wing for identical catch and high
rips. Bainbridge quickly abandoned
the zone idea and both team defenses settled in, keepers made saves and
both offenses played methodic patient offense… 3-1 Mercer at the end of
the first. Bainbridge two great
chances in the 2nd quarter.
The Spartans began to cause problems for the Islander clearing
game and after an ill-advised good hustle but save the ball in your own
defensive end play, Bainbridge’s Alex Crane
scooped the loose ball and had a partial breakaway. Bernstein came up with a huge kick
save. The other came just before
the buzzer as a loose ball bounced in front of an open net, but Jason
Ashton’s slap shot attempt bit the post.
The only goal of the quarter came as Doug Mahony
managed to slide a worm burner through on a man-up possession for the
Islanders. Bainbridge had the
better of the possession but nothing to show for it in the 2nd
quarter… 4-1 Mercer at half. Third
quarter went scoreless and the final 12 minutes started the same
4-1. Considering the methodic slow
pace of the 3rd, the 4th opened with relative
fireworks. Just a minute in, Zach
Stickney simply drove solo and Bainbridge failed to slide, an odd
momentary lapse for Spartan defense that appeared to possibly be
tiring. Alex Crane killed any Islander
momentum as he go the goal back for Bainbridge right away with a little
hitch and low rip. Bainbridge had
life and a few minutes later Crane dodged the alley, was able to turn the
corner and put another in with five minutes left. Next minute saw Yarbrough make some big
saves of his own to keep the Spartan chances alive. Bainbridge had a chance to clear and
failed with 4 minutes left. This
allowed the Islanders to kill almost two more minutes of clock and forced
Yarbrough to make another save. Bainbridge
got the ball back with under 2 minutes to play
and pushed as well as they could but the Islander defense was up to the
task. Bernstein saved anything
thrown at him and the clock ran out.
5-3 Islanders as they captured their first title since 2006
despite being in the finals every year except 2008. The low 5-3 count was the lowest in
- Reynolds Yarbrough, FR, Bainbridge
– Not the end team result he had hoped for, but the young netminder stepped in at the end of the season and was part of Bainbridge’s late season turnaround to
make a run at the title. Yarbrough
had played just 3 varsity halves, all at season’s end before being named
the starter for the playoffs. He
responded with double digit save performances in his first two playoff
games, the first two full games of his career! In the finals he made another 7 saves
to help keep Bainbridge in it until the end.
- Brian Bernstein, SR, Mercer
Island – For our money, Bernstein was the MVP of the finals and showed he
may have been the best keeper in the league. Playing in back of a solid defense and
a team that possesses the ball as Mercer does, hard for the goalie to
show how much talent he has but Bernstein’s abilities were on full
display in the finals as he came out of the cage to win groundballs, make
key saves at big moments and showed an ability to save a variety of
shots. He finished with 14 saves!
The D2 Stroll…
stories from the week that was:
- Woodinville raced to a
3-0 lead in their semifinal over Garfield. The Bulldogs, Jackson Lanning helped
keep Garfield in it by winning faceoffs and
thus possessions but Falcon netminder, Dalton
Combs made 15 saves to allow Woodinville to pull away with the 8-3
- Sammamish dispatched
Blanchet rather easily in the other semifinal getting hat-trick from
Tyler Wright and Tyvan Schmidt in addition to
four other two goal scorers. Matt
Young dominated faceoffs and won 13 groundballs.
- Congratulations to
Everett on being honored with the Division II Sportsmanship Award.
- The championship game
matched two league-unbeatens while Woodinville went unblemished overall
all season. The contest also
pitted the recently named Coach of the Yeat , Woodinville’s
Gavin Molitor against the Assistant Coach of
the Year in Sammamish’s Travis Wright.
So all signs pointed to this being a classic final and the right
match-up to decide it all. The
game quickly turned into the Chapman vs Chapman
as Sammamish’s Sam Chapman helped lock down the Falcon’s big freshman, Colter Clinch while consistently winning groundballs
and running up and down the field to clear. Woodinville’s J.D. Chapman established
himself as the man offensively from the start. The Totem’s Matt Young looked to have
the faceoff edge in winning the first three. However, Sammamish often wasted the
possessions he was winning for them as it was Woodinville who was scoring
the goals to go up 2-0. Young did
manage to win the next one and race straight down for a goal himself to
bring Sammamish back. Neil Hones
tied the game early in the 2nd before a two goal run capped by
another from JD Chapman pushed the lead back to 2 for Woodinville. Teams
then traded goals to end the half.
Chapman completed his hat-trick before halftime and Woodinville took
a 5-4 lead into the break. The
Falcons pushed to 7-4 and looked to be pulling away. Sammamish’s Tyler Wright was held in
check most of the game at attack but near the end of the 3rd quarter
he began running some midfield and looked dangerous. He took on almost the entire Falcon
defense to put one in the cage just before the final horn of the 3rd
quarter to pull Sammamish within 8-6 entering the 4th.
Sammamish had chances in the 4th but Dalton Combs made big
saves and Woodinville would find the net a couple more times, including
another by JD Chapman. When the
final buzzer sounded the scoreboard showed Woodinville 10, Sammamish 7 as
the Falcon’s captured the Division II title in just their 2nd
year as a program!
- J.D. Chapman, SR, Woodinville
– The attackman scored 4 goals and added 2
assists in clearing showing to be the Falcons leader on offense and leading
them to the Division II championship.
- Dalton Combs, JR
Woodinville – Combs made 15 saves in the semis and 14 more in the
finals. The diminutive goalkeeper
was full of energy and his passionate play inspired the Falcons at the
Lacrosse The Country…
got a goal from Drew Snider (Garfield) and some inspired
defensive play from Landon Carr (Curtis) in their 9-4 win over Duke to
advance to Monday’s NCAA Division I championship game!
Greg Mahony (Mercer
Island) was named 2nd team All-Ivy League in addition to garnering some team awards for Yale.
Lacrosse Four Thought…
Which programs will be on the
move in 2012 (reassigned to Division I or Division II respectively)?
Who is on your 2012 Preseason
Players to Watch list?
What are your early predictions
for 2012 state champions?
Will 2012 be the year a team
outside of the big four (Mercer, Bainbridge, Bellevue, Issaquah)
can crack the semifinals?
great quotes for you to end the season so we’ll just leave you with some
additional thoughts of our own to ponder over the off-season. As always, it has been another great season
and it always goes by way to fast. Great to see the league continuing to grow and players advancing to
make waves on the college scene.
early look at 2012 shows it could be Bellevue back on top. The Wolverines return all but two players
(neither a starter) from a team that showed well despite their youth. Further, they played much of the season
without one of their top attackman as Blake Samuel
spent most of the year of injured reserve.
of great talent still left in Division I as 14 underclassmen fill the All-State selections.
May always be some talent moving in from the ranks of Division II as
well just as the Jake Bernstein went from DII in 2010 to All-American in 2011.
graduates 13 seniors and returns just 5 players (Knotsman,
Ashton, Ingrasci, Gargus and
Yarbrough) that saw any action in the final.
So, 2012 could be the year for the continually improving King’s Way or
Tacoma to finally knock of the Spartans.
Mercer graduates their own dozen, 11 of which saw action in the final
and their own 5 that saw action in the final (Bernal, Reisman,
Robbs, Stickney and Tsang). As everyone knows though, Bainbridge and
Mercer are the powerhouse programs and have always modeled an ability to reload
so until someone knocks them off you have to put them at the top.
KingCo conference continues to grow in the lacrosse
ranks as evident by the growth and success of the Woodinville and Sammamish programs.
programs may be surfacing at Monroe and Edmonds-Woodway
while the JV program at Shoreline should be joining the Varsity ranks in
2012. We look forward to sorting it all
out over the next 9 months!