And it comes down to this.
In the finals of the Division 2 Championship, King’s Way (9-1), on the basis of a comfortable win against Overlake, will face-off against Seattle Academy (8-3), who handled Vashon easily as well. There are some common themes in these programs;
- Both were affected deeply by program splits. Camas and Union split off from the King’s Way (KW) program last season and the Knights bumped down to Division 2 this year after playoff appearances in Division 1. They still sport a roster of players from eight different high schools. Seattle Academy (SAAS) is a first year program made from splitting Garfield and Nathan Hale and their players represent fourdifferent high schools. Both squads are anxious to start writing their own new histories.
- Both finalists sport first year coaches. KW’s Josh Peck brings a great pedigree, growing up in Annapolis, and playing at Johns Hopkins where he won a D1 national championship in 2007, and captained the 2009 team. SAAS’s Scott Pattision is no slouch in the pedigree department either, growing up on Mercer Island and playing for Roanoke College in Virginia, where he led the Maroons to two D3 Final Four appearances in 2005 & 2006. Both these coaches know what it takes to win, but neither has led a team to the Big Dance in Washington.
Defenses are strong on both these teams, as they both average less than six goals allowed per game. The Knights rely heavily on the athleticism of their defensive middies, and junior Josh Emmy leads the way. A recent transfer from Arizona, Emmy is a champion wrestler in the 170 lb weight class, but just a first year lacrosse player. “He’s come so far since the beginning of the year” says Coach Peck, “he shuts people down because he’s always the better athlete.” The Knights also sport a freshman defender, Hunter Cofer, who is their shutdown pole. Instrumental in their playoff win against Overlake, Cofer stifled the Owls leading scorer, senior Colton Umberger, holding him to just two goals. The defense is shored up by junior Conrad Littlefield, a keeper who led the conference with a 69% save percentage. He can blow a little hot or cold, but when he’s on, he’s hard to get anything past.
Offensively, Brian Prigmore and Evan Ramirez are the team’s vocal leaders. Midfielder Prigmore, who last month committed to play at Brown, led the conference in points while Ramirez, an attackman, was #3 in goals scored. “Our team’s hitting its stride at the exact right time” says Coach Peck, “we’re really looking forward to the opportunity to win it all.”
That’s not the issue for Coach Pattison’s SAAS team, they’ve been in stride all season long. His team has been targeting this game from the first face-off of the season and have reached that goal. They are State Championship tested, as almost all of them suited up either for Garfield or Nathan Hale in last year’s D2 Championship Game. All season long David Funes, Parker Woo and Aidan Lawry have powered the offense, scoring over 60% of the team’s goals between them. Midfielder Riley Johnson, recovering from a jaw broken in the third game of the season, seems anxious to wrap up his junor season with a few more goals and another title.
The Cardinal defense has been led this year by first team All-Metro goalie, Andrew McCall. The senior keeper and his defenders allowed opponents just 13 shots per game all season, although there’s a rumor going around that he’s pretty banged up and playing hurt. Junior Zeke Robinson, 2nd team All-Metro, Max Schoenfeld, and Sam Brickman make up a set of poles that has been tough on shooters the whole year.
It’s all come down to this, one last game for the D2 championship. 3:30 faceoff, Saturday at Memorial stadium. Hope to see you there!