Sports

Only the title game will satisfy

Lacrossers look to rebound after last year’s playoff exit to Issaquah.

Last season, the Bainbridge boys lacrosse team did something they hadn’t done since the 20th century: miss getting to the championship game.

The Spartans went 12-4 and finished first in the Sound Conference, but were knocked out by Issaquah in the state semifinals last year, losing 11-10 in overtime at Memorial Stadium.

It was the first time they did not make the championship game since 1990, and it’s been two years since they’ve won the title.

All of which gives this year’s team extra motivation to make it back.

“This is my third year on varsity and we haven’t won the championship yet,” senior midfielder Sean Forsyth said. “I’m pretty set on winning. We’re not going to go quietly.”

Bainbridge loses five seniors in scorer David Vander Hoek (who broke the record for most points in a season last year with 108, previously held by Adam Smith), midfielder Zach Smith, their top face-off man, attacker Cody Bludorn and defenders Austin Brawner and Zach Kornfield, but several returners are ready to take their place.

Offensively, Forsyth, junior attacker Dylan Masi, senior midfielder Willy Delius, senior midfielder Ryan van den Meerendock, sophomore midfielder Max Olson and junior midfielder Clayton Knight are ready to make up for the loss of Vander Hoek.

“We’ve got a bunch of strong offensive players,” Forsyth said. “We’ve got a great bunch of middies (midfielders) and attackmen, and we’re looking stronger than ever.”

Delius, the senior veteran, agreed.

“It’s improved from last year,” he said. “Last year we had one guy that could score and now we’ve got a lot more balance offensively. (There’s) just a ton of talent.”

Defensively, junior defender Bryan Gilbreath is part of a young group that is looking to make their mark.

“I think since we have a young defense we need to get better to know what’s going on,” he said. “We don’t have really big stars, but if we work together, we’ll be a lot stronger.”

That’s the theme for the team, as everyone must pull together to take on a balanced league, highlighted by tough teams like Seattle Prep, Garfield, Bellevue and Issaquah, along with Mercer Island, Bainbridge’s main rival and the two-time state champions.

Forsyth feels that their work in the offseason is one of the keys to heading back to the championship game.

“We came into the season a lot tougher this year because we had good offseason conditioning programs,” he said. “Leadership from the seniors is important and there are a lot of juniors and sophomores ready to step up.”

Delius doesn’t want to see their season end the way it has the past two years, and feels the Spartans are in stride with the other teams talent-wise.

“We might have an underdog mentality,” he said. “But we absolutely want to get back. It’s been one year since we’ve been there, but two years since we’ve won it, which hasn’t happened since the ’80s. We got some work to do.”

Bainbridge travels to Curtis March 16, to Lakeridge March 18 and to Vashon March 20 before making their home debut against the Islanders March 24.

Game time for their first home contest is at 7:30 p.m.

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