Sports

Lacrossers roll in post-season tuneups

"Though it may sometimes seem hard to believe, not everything is changing on Bainbridge Island. Not the lacrosse teams. Thursday, the Bainbridge boys served notice that they're ready, willing and able to tack on a seventh straight state championship, as they routed Curtis 15-1 in a near-perfect performance.And the girls finished their regular season unbeaten, first blanking Mercer Island 14-0, then posting a 15-8 win over Forest Ridge.The girls are trying to forget the last three years, when they lost in the state championship game, and revert to the form that saw them win four straight state titles before that. In boys' competition, the Curtis players, though imposing physically, were overmatched by Bainbridge's all-around skills, which the Sparts displayed immediately.Kelten Johnson scooped up the ball on the opening face-off and fed Adam Smith, who scored just 20 seconds gone. Three minutes later, Peter VanderHoek took the ball behind the Curtis goal, then fed Johnson out front for another tally.A minute later, Jeff Pratt scored off a Johnson assist, and Pratt scored another quick goal on the ensuing face-off. Scores by VanderHoek and Smith - the last following a fine Michael Elliott steal - gave the hosts a comfortable 6-0 lead after one period.The worst was yet to come for Curtis. Midway through the second quarter, Bainbridge went on a tear and scored five goals in less than 90 seconds.First, it was Travis Eliason with an unassisted score. Then Johnson took the face-off down the middle and found Adam Smith for a close-in shot. Then, ditto - Johnson to Smith. Jesse Savage scored unassisted.Curtis went on the attack, but Trevor Hall stole the ball and lofted a clearing pass half the length of the field to Smith, who fired home yet another Bainbridge score.Goalie Michael Penn made a number of solid saves early, then was put to the test at the end of the third quarter, when a flurry of penalties forced Bainbridge to play either one or two men down for the last three minutes. Not only did the defense hold firm, but Bainbridge actually scored a goal during the short-handed stint.As the clock wound down, the only suspense was whether Penn and the defense would register a rare shutout. They missed by 22 seconds, when Curtis finally tallied an unassisted goal.We played very well, coach Dave Low said. Obviously, the defense was great, and Penn made some good saves. And Marc Ragin was great in the face-offs.Low said Curtis was not a strong enough team to use as a measure of Bainbridge's readiness to defend its six straight state titles. The tests will come when the Sparts visit Mercer Island Wednesday, then close the regular season Friday by hosting Lakeside, the only team to beat Bainbridge this year.The girls, meanwhile, cruised to their 12th and 13th straight victories.We played Bainbridge lacrosse, coach Tami Tommila said. Against Mercer, our defense was good and our attack strong. We started a little slow against Forest Ridge, but then we settled down. Both games were good team efforts.It marked the first unbeaten season by anyone since Bainbridge's perfect record in 1996.It's a testament to this team, because the way the schedule works now, we play the strong teams twice, which we didn't used to do, Tommila said. It's good for our confidence to have beaten the good teams twice.The girls open tournament play at 6 p.m. Monday, hosting Greenwood, which is coached by Bainbridge alum Karen Bech. At 5 p.m., the JV team opens post-season play against Seattle Prep.Tommila likes her team's chances to get back into the winner's circle. We're on our way to what we're trying to accomplish, she said."

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