Spartans upend Lakeside for state title

Annie Kent (near goal) and Jane Baumgartner (No. 9) swarm the goal. - Trillium Swanson photo
Annie Kent (near goal) and Jane Baumgartner (No. 9) swarm the goal.
— image credit: Trillium Swanson photo

Kathryn Bachen, Colbi Brawner shine in the 11-10 win at Mercer Stadium.

SEATTLE – Oh, the trials and tribulations on the way to a repeat championship.

Neither Owls, nor Lions nor pouring rain at Mercer Island could keep these Bainbridge Spartans from their appointed goal – to bring home another title.

With 15 All-State players on the field, the title match between Bainbridge and Lakeside gave the crowd, coaches and players at Mercer Stadium all the action and excitement possible Saturday.

The Spartans (14-1, 18-1 overall) rallied behind their 11 seniors to tough out an 11-10 win over the Lions to claim the 2005 championship.

All-American Kathryn Bachen scored the first two, getting the first just 22 seconds in.

When Lakeside stormed back – as they would all day long – for two goals, it was Bachen again who scored to bring Bainbridge even at 2-2 halfway through the first period.

When the Lions went ahead 4-2 with 8:57 left in the first half, coach Tami Tommila did what she rarely does – she called a timeout. Midfield captain Christen Toepel came out of the restart to score her first of three goals, leading the way for Colbi Brawner’s first to tie it up.

“We really marked up tight,” Toepel said, summing up the defensive and midfield difference. “And we went to every ball with everything we had.”

Whitney Hume curled around from behind the left post, putting one in to give the Spartans a 5-4 lead with 3:42 left in the first half.

Lakeside’s Kate Okrasinski evened things up, but up stepped yet another Spartan. Hannah Davis moved the ball upfield, giving the 6-5 halftime lead to the Spartans.

Bainbridge came out after the break with four straight goals to open up a 10-5 lead, behind the play of Toepel and Brawner. But Lakeside wasn’t ready to concede.

“They were down three goals when they came back to win against Mercer,” Tommila said. “We felt comfortable with that lead but we knew we’d have to work hard to protect it.

“It came down to who was more hungry. Quite frankly with this group of players, I felt we were going to win.”

Brawner excelled on a field with dozens of excellent players, at times taking the mantle of leadership from the senior leaders.

Defensively, Amy Gulbranson, Grace Davis and Lindsay Lund hung tough in front of their cage with goalkeeper Dimi Lotakis, who made 16 saves while pelted by rain and Lions’ shots.

When Brawner took a free possession opportunity, beating Lakeside’s All-American goalkeeper Erin Coltrera, one-on-one to go up 11-8 with six minutes remaining, even two late goals by Okrasinski couldn’t spoil the Spartan sunshine smiles in the rain.

Claiming the title for the second straight year meant a lot to the Bainbridge players and coach, who spoke to the importance of establishing a new Spartan legacy.

The players knew: it marked the first repeat for Bainbridge since 1994-96. Since the year 2000, it’s only been Lakeside and Bainbridge, save for a Seattle Prep title in 2003.

“I couldn’t ask for a better game, and a better team to do it with,” Bachen said. “And to pull through and come out with the best season ever, that’s incredible.”

Brawner was acknowledged for her complete effort. For her part, Brawner said it was the team togetherness throughout the season that made the win special.

“I just think we have such a tight team, with so many graduating. I’d do anything to have them win this,” Brawner said. “And that’s what it was – we had the heart to win.”

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