Spartans advance to state championship game

The Spartans’ Kendall Havill sends in one of her five goals against Ballard. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

The Spartans’ Kendall Havill sends in one of her five goals against Ballard. (Brian Kelly | Bainbridge Island Review)

TUKWILA — The Spartans whupped the Bellevue Wolverines 18-4 in the state girls lacrosse semifinals earlier this week at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.

Bainbridge will now play for the state championship title Friday against Mercer Island.

Tuesday against Bellevue, the Spartans quickly defanged the Wolverines, a 12-2 team that surprised many this year by upsetting defending state champs Eastside Catholic 16-11 in the quarterfinals.

Mackenzie Chapman put Bainbridge on the board just 90 seconds into the game, and the Spartans led 3-0 with a little more than 3 minutes into the contest following subsequent goals by Abby Reibsamen and Chapman.

The early advantage wasn’t enough for some of the Spartan faithful there for the game. “Let’s turn it up to 12!” came a loud scream from a fan in the stands.

Actually, Bainbridge did turn it up to 12. Then 13, then 14, then 15, before Bellevue got its first goal — nearly 10 minutes into the second half — to end their scoring drought at 15-1.

Still, the Wolverines proved scrappy the whole way.

“They played a really great game. I was so proud of Bellevue for getting to the semifinal,” said Spartan Coach Tami Tommila.

“They knocked out a really strong team, so they deserved to be here,” she said.

The Spartans advanced to the finals by beating Ballard 20-4 in the first round of the playoffs, and then dispatching Issaquah 20-1 in the quarterfinals.

Chapman — who shared top-scoring honors (four goals) against Issaquah with teammate Maggie Sweeney — was again nearly unstoppable, offensively, against the Wolverines. Chapman taxed Bellevue for seven goals, plus three assists. (She also had one ground ball, three draws and a caused turnover.)

Chapman, Bainbridge’s scoring leader with 85 goals this season, was one of five Spartans to score in the contest.

Kendall Havill contributed five goals, while Eleanor Collins added three goals (and an assist), and Reibsamen finished with two. Eleanor King also scored for the Spartans, and contributed an assist, ground ball and four draws.

Strong play on both sides of the ball proved decisive. The Spartans collected 11 ground balls and controlled the draw 13 times, plus added three caused turnovers.

And in goal, Thuy Ortiz had a night to remember for the Spartans. She stopped 11 of the 15 shots on goal by the Wolverines, and ended the game with a save percentage of 73.3 percent.

Bellevue was led by Vanessa Rubel, who finished with two goals. Lily Weingaertner and Mindy Weingaertner added a goal each in the closing minutes of the game.

The Wolverines had plenty of chances to score midway through the first half — when the Spartans were up by just 6-0 — but didn’t.

Credit Bainbridge for adjusting quickly.

“We were figuring some stuff out,” Tommila said. “I think our kids had to get used to some of the physical play that was going on. And just deal with the mental part of it. And then, as the game went on, the physical part of it.”

“Again all the credit to Bellevue for getting here,” she said. “It’s great for their program; they’ve got a huge program — and so I’m happy for them. But I’m obviously happier for us to get to the final.”

After the game, the Spartan coach said they would stick around to see the outcome of the Mercer Island-Snohomish game. (Mercer Island edged Snohomish 9-8 in the semifinal to advance to the championship game.)

“I think that our girls executed the game plan really well. We had a lot of people scoring, which is really nice,” Tommila said.

“They prepared really nicely for this. And now we’ve got an opportunity to watch these two teams go at it and figure out who we are going to have to prepare for,” Tommila said.

The Spartans are now in the championship final for the 20th time in the program’s history.

Tommila said the Spartans were ready to play whichever team was left standing Tuesday night.

“Both of these teams are awesome,” she said of Mercer Island and Snohomish, before their semifinal. “Well-coached. And so the final is going to be a great final.”

Bainbridge previously faced Mercer Island April 18, and the Spartans won 14-7 in the matchup on Mercer Island’s field.

Now, the undefeated Spartans (15-0) are looking for one more win against MI to complete a perfect season.

“We’ve got one more lap,” Tommila said.

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