By Carol Gullstad, pictures by Ron Rudokas
It was fitting that the location for the Islanders' weekend tournament, the Tualatin Hills Invitational water polo tournament, was just a few miles down the road from Nike world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. It seemed that Mercer Island had adopted a team mantra of Just Do It as they entered the water for their first game.
The Islanders (4-12) drove south expecting to be competitive in spite of their rough 0-7 league start. They knew that more time in the pool together was eventually going to pay off and finally on Friday night it all came together. After posting some great tournament results, the team could try a new boast: Just Did It.
The Islanders competed well, winning the first three games in a row. They dispatched Westview, Reynolds and Beaverton in short order before falling to six-time Oregon state champion Newberg. This left the young team with a 3-1 record in pool play and a chance to compete for one of the top finishes in the tournament.
They continued on in seeded tournament play by beating Westview soundly for a second time earning their way into the semi-finals. While the Islanders were sunk by Southridge in the semis they can hold their heads up high as Southridge was the eventual tournament winner.
The Islanders ended the tournament in 4th place after a consolation match loss to Lakeridge.
Mercer Island resumes league play with their final game of the regular season versus rival Bellevue Wolverines this afternoon at Bellevue.
(Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story misspelled Newberg, Ore. and misstated the number of water polo state championships in their name.)