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Stickmen advance with bang-up play
"Ryan Schierling/Staff PhotosBainbridge attackman Adam Smith (right) reminds Eastside goalie Justin Patterson that goalkeepers are safer in the crease. Patterson had run the ball upfield to start a fast break when Smith checked him, knocking the ball away. The Spartans defeated Eastlake 10-5. They can make it seven titles in a row with a win over Lakeside.A smothering defense more than compensated for a jittery offense Wednesday, as the Bainbridge boys' lacrosse team earned a trip to the state championship game with a 10-5 win over Eastside Catholic.The Sparts will be seeking their seventh straight state championship this afternoon at Mercer Island High School against Lakeside, the only team to have beaten Bainbridge this year. We came out relatively nervous against Eastside, Bainbridge coach Dave Low said. When we played them before, we won handily. But this was a different Eastside team than the one the Spartans had beaten twice. Jordan Bayly, last season's state player of the year, was back on the field for the visitors after mending from a serious ankle injury.He's the one player in the league we really pay attention to as an individual, said Low, who had designed a special anti-Bayly defense - assigning junior Peter Bonoff to dog the player wherever he went.It worked. Bayly scored only once, on a garbage-type rebound in front of the net rather than off a set play. Bonoff denied Bayly the ball throughout, and negated his playmaking ability.Normally when you commit one defender to an attacker, you weaken the rest of your defense, Low said. But the other Spartans stepped into the breach.Senior defenseman Ben Blakey jammed a number of multiple-player Eastside attacks, and goalie Mike Penn made several fine saves.Bainbridge broke on top on two first-quarter goals from Travis Eliasen. Bainbridge took a 5-1 halftime lead as scores from Adam Smith, Jesse Savage and Kelten Johnson were offset by a single Eastside goal scored while the Spartans were a man short. Bainbridge extended the lead to 9-2 after three on third-period goals from Jeff Pratt, Jesse Fairbank and a pair from Peter VanderHoek. Although the visitors scored three times in the final period against Fairbank's lone Bainbridge score, the outcome was never in doubt.The defense played well, Low said. We had a solid team game on offense in that nobody really stood out. But I think there were some playoff nerves.If the Sparts want to make it seven straight state titles, they can't afford any lapses against Lakeside. The first time the teams met, Lakeside took a convincing 14-7 win. And in last Friday's rematch at home, Bainbridge had to go into double overtime to pull out a 12-11 win on Travis Eliasen's dramatic, tie-breaking goal with 1 minute 58 seconds remaining. The Spartans rebounded from a two-goal deficit to take a seemingly comfortable 11-8 advantage with 2:30 to go in regulation against Lakeside. But two unassisted goals from Stanford-bound Beau Lewis and another by Dave Lyman with only nine seconds to go pulled the Lions even, setting the stage for the overtime dramatics. After a scoreless first overtime, Eliasen, the senior co-captain who committed an untimely error that led to the tying goal, redeemed himself. He took a perfect pass from Smith, then sent a right-handed rocket past Lakeside goalie Zane Banky for the winner.The two teams are very evenly matched, Low said of the rubber game with Lakeside. They score their goals on unsettled situations, when they can get a running game going. So we will have to concentrate on slowing down and keeping possession.Focus and discipline will definitely be the key to victory, Low said.The Bainbridge Middle School club also will play in a state title game against host Mercer Island at 12:30 p.m. today. The varsity takes on Lakeside at 4 p.m."