Boys' Lacrosse: Northwest Invitational Preview

Also on Friday, two defending state championship teams go head-to-head as Lincoln faces Centennial in another intriguing inter-state battle.

Meanwhile, Saturday's premium contest pits Mercer Island against Sunset, two finalists from a year ago in their respective states. Mercer Island returns two 20-goal scorers from a season ago in Matt Shields and Doug Mahony. The Islanders are coming off back-to-back undefeated regular seasons against in-state opponents before losing in the state finals by one goal both years.

With 12 seniors and an experienced roster, the Islanders are deep once again and will be quite a test for Sunset. The Apollos went 21-3 in '10 before falling to rival Lincoln in double overtime of the state championship game. Sunset must fill the void of losing All-American goalie Jack Regan to graduation, but still fields a young and talented roster. This match-up should really give the Apollos an early gauge of where they stack up overall in West Coast lacrosse.

Also on Saturday, Lincoln takes on defending Washington champ Bellevue in what shapes up to be an excellent battle between a pair of evenly matched teams. Headed by All-American Sam Leggett, Belleuve is equipped with one of the top defensive units in the entire region.

Finally, on Sunday, it's a showdown between regional powers as Lincoln and Mercer Island cap tournament play. Lincoln will look to score early and often behind junior attack Mike Marcott (Denver). The Cardinals reeled off 17 consecutive wins last year en route to the '10 state championship, with 16 of those wins seeing the team score 10 or more goals. However, Mercer Island features a formidable defensive unit, making this quite an evenly matched contest. The Islanders allowed 9 or more goals just once last season. In fact, the only team to put up double digits against them was Lincoln (coming in an overtime win for the Islanders). Expect another exciting contest to finish off play in the '11 Invitational.

With 14 renowned programs from the Western Region slated to play this year, O'Hearn is delighted to see where the invitational has come in just six short years. However, for the longtime Mercer Island coach, it's only the beginning.

"Ultimately, the goal is to get some marquee teams from the East Coast to take part in the invitational and always upgrade the quality of competition," O'Hearn said. "Like the Jesuit Classic has been for the East Coast, we'd like to be the go-to event on the West Coast, and I think we're getting there."

Check out the Northwest Invitational home page for more details and the complete weekend schedule.

To contact staff writer Adam Warner, send an e-mail to

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