Sports

Spartans outduel Mercer rivals

Spartan Willy Delius tries to keep his distance from Mercer Island’s Adam Brazg at Friday’s game at BHS. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Spartan Willy Delius tries to keep his distance from Mercer Island’s Adam Brazg at Friday’s game at BHS.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

It marked the first Bainbridge win over ‘the other islanders’ in three seasons.

Rivalry games always bring out the best and worst in two teams, and Friday night’s contest between the Bainbridge and Mercer Island boys lacrosse teams was no different.

“It’s a major rivalry,” Spartan head coach Jack Visco said, noting that he and assistant coach Dejon Hush led Mercer Island in 2001 when the Islanders defeated the Spartans for the first time in that program’s history.

There was plenty of hitting, pushing and shoving in a close contest Friday that saw the Spartans defeat the Islanders 5-2, their first victory over Mercer in three years.

Both teams employed an attack area offense from the opening horn, quickly moving the ball down to their opponent’s side and passing the ball around until someone found an opening in the defense.

Junior midfielder Fiore Alailima scored the first goal for Bainbridge in the first quarter.

In the second, Mercer Island midfielder A.J. Ellis tied the game up. The Islanders could have had more goals, but freshman goalkeeper Bryce Stevenson, in his first varsity start, made two nice saves off of an Islander player getting an open shot.

Hush felt Stevenson and the starting defense – sophomore Dayton Gilbreath, his brother James, a junior and sophomores Casey Weisner and Trent Burroughs – did an excellent job holding Mercer’s potent offense to two goals.

“They’re a young group of kids and they totally took their offensive players out of the game,” Hush said. “Mercer Island is a team that scores 12, 13 goals a game and to hold them to two is a huge defensive effort.”

Junior midfielder Dylan Masi put Bainbridge ahead with 2:27 left until halftime, while junior defender James Gilbreath had a chance for another goal after winning the draw, but his shot was stopped by goalkeeper Jon Schwartz.

The second half was dominated by Bainbridge as Mercer Island committed numerous penalties that kept them buried down at their end.

After the Islanders were called for a personal foul early in the third quarter, the Spartans took advantage of the man down as junior midfielder Clayton Knight scored on an assist from Masi. Sophomore midfielder Jordan Foster scored a few minutes later but it was disallowed on a crease violation.

It was a crucial call at the time, as junior attacker Greg Mahoney scored with 1:22 left in the third to close the gap to within one again.

But Mercer Island committed too many fouls to get a consistent offense going, as Masi scored his second goal of the night as it went off the stick of Schwartz to clinch the game for Bainbridge.

He scored again on an assist from attacker Garrett Lund with five seconds left in the game for the hat trick.

Bainbridge takes on high scoring Garfield for the league lead tonight at Genesse Park at 7:30 p.m.

Their next home game is at 7:30 p.m. Friday against Nathan Hale.

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