In what could be considered a preview of the state water polo tournament next month, the top 4 teams in the South League squared off against the top 4 teams of the North League at the Lakes High School water polo tournament October 12-13.
Mercer Island (4-2 league, 9-4 overall) advanced undefeated through pool play, dispatching last year’s state runner-up Curtis 13-3 as well as South League contender Auburn-Riverside 16-3. On the way to the championship round, Mercer Island also beat league rival Roosevelt 13-7. The Roughriders looked stunned as the Islander defeat came only 2 days after Roosevelt beat the Islanders 13-8 at Mercer Island’s home pool.
The Islanders trailed Roosevelt 4-5 at the half and it looked like it might be a repeat of the earlier-in-the-week contest. However, the Islanders came charging out in the 3rd quarter, scoring 6 unanswered goals to seize a 10-5 lead at the end of the 3rd. The Maroon Men remained stubborn on defense and won the game 11-8. Goalie Henry Mansfield had 5 blocks and Goalie Hunter Peshkin had 2 stops.
The Islanders continued their march toward the championship game by beating Auburn-Mountainview 13-7 to earn a match up against last year’s state champion Bellevue. MI knew that undefeated Bellevue would be a tough opponent.
In the opening quarter, the Islanders had multiple turnovers that lead to easy fast-breaks for Bellevue, yet the score remained close as the Wolverines lead 5-3. The trend continued in the second quarter as Bellevue took advantage of cross bar rebounds and pool position to score. At half-time the Wolverines widened the gap to a 12-6 lead. During the third and fourth quarter the teams traded goals but the Islanders were never able to close the gap, ultimately losing by 6 for a final score of 12-18. Anthony Pedreira was the leading Islander goal scorer with 4 put into the net.
The Islanders are still searching for the secret sauce against Bellevue as they also lost to the Wolverines 14-16 in league play October 1. The Islanders will get one more shot at Bellevue prior to playoffs with a home contest October 22, 7:45 p.m. at the Mercer Island Country Club.