Washington State Title Games Set for Saturday

A pair of new state champions will be crowned this weekend in the state of Washington as the boys' Division I and Division II title games are on the docket.

In Division I competition, perennial power Mercer Island is set to face off against archrival Bainbridge Island on Saturday. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 PM at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.

Mercer Island (20-2 overall) enters this weekend's finale having gone undefeated against in-state competition in 2011. The only squads that found success against the Islanders were Oregon Episcopal (OR) and Concord Carlisle (MA). Mercer Island is fresh off of a 9-5 victory over defending champion Bellevue in the semifinals on Wednesday. Standout midfielder Connor Bernal led the way with four goals and goalie Brian Bernstein notched eight saves in a strong supporting effort. In addition to a 9-for-9 team face-off performance in the second half, the squad's defense was nearly impenetrable, giving up just three goals to Bellevue's talented attackmen. Overall this season, the Islander defense is yielding just 4.4 goals per game.

With the Islanders featuring one of the most balanced teams in the Western Region, expect Bainbridge Island to have its hands full for four quarters. Mercer Island features three First Team All-State players this year in Matt Shields (attack), Doug Mahony (midfield) and TJ Blackburn (defense). As evidenced in the squad's 18-3 win over Bainbridge Island back on May 7, the Islanders can hit you from every direction.

On the other side, Bainbridge Island (17-2) is seeking payback after falling to Mercer Island earlier this month. The Spartans who are making their first title game appearance since '08 head into the championship match-up on a five-game winning streak and ranked No. 2 in the state of Washington by LaxPower. On Wednesday, the Spartans knocked off Issaquah, 13-9, in semifinal action to advance. Aside from Mercer Island, Issaquah was the only other team to beat Bainbridge Island during the regular season.

The Spartans boast one of the most explosive offenses in the state and will be hard-pressed not to reach double-digit goals this weekend. During the team's current five-game streak, the Spartans are averaging 16.2 goals per outing. Look for the team to center its attack around midfielders Alex Crane, Jacob Goodman and Cameron Parker, three all-state selections this season.

Keep in mind that Mercer Island may have an extra edge via experience. The program is now making its tenth championship appearance in the last 11 years. If the team can get out to a sizeable lead early, Bainbridge Island will likely have a tough time clawing back due to the Islanders' suffocating defense. However, if Bainbridge Island can keep it close heading into the fourth quarter, the squad certainly has a shot to come away victorious.

Boys' Division II Championship - Woodinville vs. Sammamish

In the Division II championship, upstart Woodinville battles Sammamish at Memorial Stadium starting at 5 PM on Saturday.

In just its second season as a lacrosse program, Woodinville is making the most of its first-ever playoff appearance. The Falcons (17-0) downed Metro Conference champion Garfield, 8-3, on Wednesday to advance to the title game. Colter Clinch, Tyler Paris and J.D. Chapman combined to net six goals to pace the Falcons.

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2011-05-26



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