Spartans in seventh heaven

"Peter Vander Hoek has spent just a few hours at Mercer Island High School, yet forgive the Bainbridge High senior if he considers the place very close to home.Vander Hoek tallied five goals to back a phenomenal performance by goalie Michael Penn in leading the Bainbridge Boys Lacrosse Club to a 13-4 victory over Lakeside Saturday afternoon at Mercer Island, to give the Spartans their seventh consecutive Class A state championship.The much anticipated showdown between the state's top two clubs quickly turned into a runaway as three Vander Hoek goals, coupled with a pair from sophomore Adam Smith and singles from Jeff Pratt and Travis Eliasen gave Bainbridge a 7-1 lead at the half.Bainbridge stretched that advantage to 13-1 with 8 minutes 52 seconds remaining in the game before Lakeside's David Fine, the state's leading goal scorer, flipped in two scores against a relaxed Bainbridge defense.The Lions' Jeff Jorve, who scored Lakeside's first goal late in the initial period, added his second with 2:05 left in the game.For Vander Hoek, the game was another in an impressive list of performances on the same field. Last year, the scrappy attackman scored seven goals in the state championship game at MI and added a mind-boggling 10 goals in a regular season game earlier this year.The title was also the second in a row for Dave Low, the popular coach who spends his days as marketing director of a Day Road outdoor equipment company. His laid-back style has been a winner with local players since taking over the reigns from Bill Dawson just 24 months ago.Penn's performance, especially his first half rejections of three bolts from Beau Lewis, Lakeside's all-state midfielder, was one of the most memorable in the team's illustrious, seven-year title run. Playing in the footsteps of former all-staters Tyler Carner and Bobby Beaufait, Penn sent an early message that he was in charge.And, the rangy senior, who doubles as a wrestler in the fall, got plenty of help. Ben Blakey, Bainbridge senior named to the all-state defensive team, tailed Lakeside's Fine all afternoon and did not allow the offensive leader any open shots. Junior Peter Bonoff, who returns with Trevor Kale to anchor a versatile defensive pack, stymied Lewis and Jorve charges throughout the game.Kelton Johnson, senior midfielder credited with three first-half assists, added two unassisted goals of his own on second-half rockets directly in front of the goal.But the lasting memory of the Spartans' seventh title game will be of Vander Hoek, bringing the crowd to its feet on perfectly executed, fastbreak goals on assists from Johnson, Smith and Pratt.STATE AWARD FOR SMITH: Adam Smith, a Spartan sophomore, was honored before the championship game with the Washington State Coaches' Award for Sportsmanship. The honor was named after his grandfather, Everet E. Smith, whose dedication and volunteer service were critical to the development of Northwest lacrosse. Eric Smith, Adam's father, is a former star collegiate and club player who now volunteers as coach, referee and rules consultant for Bainbridge lacrosse.MIDDLE SCHOOL CHAMPIONSHIP: The Bainbridge Boys Middle School lacrosse team, coming off a successful regular-season under the direction of Coach Ryan Painter, lost a tough league championship game, 4-1, to host Mercer Island.The game was played as a preliminary to the Class B Division Game, won by Maple Valley in overtime, 7-6, over Nathan Hale; and Bainbridge's 13-4 Class A victory over Lakeside.The Spartan Middle Schoolers, playing without the services of ace defender Dylan Preble, tied the game at 1-1 on a wrist shot by attackman Andrew Bergh with 7:32 to go in the first half.However, the Islanders, paced by two second-half goals from midfielder Brad Gillis, pulled away in the second half.Following the title game, several Spartans participated in the state Middle School All-Star Game. The list included Bergh, Joey Picha, Sam Cameron, Neil Acton, and Mats Cook."

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