Another afternoon in The Jungle by McNutty

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More photos from this and lots of WA High School lacrosse action are available at SoundLacrosse. Proceeds go directly to NW Lax Charities.

This was not how he’d dreamt it.

Fifteen seconds into the biggest start of his career, and Bellevue’s sophomore goalie Cabe Edelhertz had already given up a goal, a ten-yard off-balance rope from Mercer Island’s top point scorer Mitchell Mandt. A goalie’s psyche can be a fragile thing; surely this was a bad omen. Down 1-0 in The Jungle with the #1 Kingco seed on the line. Edelhertz was surely fighting self-doubt and second-guessing his abilities.

There are lacrosse games which require perfection from the man minding

Sophomore goalie Cabe Edelhertz in cage for Bellevue

net, where the team lives and dies by his ability to impede the ball’s progress. This was not one of those games. Edelhertz would rally, and the Islanders wouldn’t tally another goal in the quarter and he would shut them out in the 2nd half. But the fact is Edelhertz could have stood behind the cage, allowing every MI shot to go in, and Bellevue would have won 14-10. He didn’t though, and his ability to track shots in tight coupled with his strong presence in the clearing game helped Bellevue extend and hold their lead through the game. He ended up sporting a 70% save percentage for the game. That’s more like how he’d dreamt it.

This Wolverine defense was stifling. The aggressiveness and communication of the defense helped Edelhertz make the saves when he had to but also ensured he didn’t have to make too many. Their long pole defenders are tops in the league and they held the Islander offense to just 10 shots on cage in the game.  Think about that, only 10 shots the whole game. Additionally, Bellevue’s defense forced 11 turnovers. In the first half.

Senior Jack Albrecht had seven takeaways to go with six ground balls and an assist. He is the biggest defensive presence the Wolverines have had since two-time All American Sam Leggett in 2012. Senior Michael Medzegian looks every bit as good as his older brother Chris, who was playing defense the last time Bellevue was this dominant, their 2014 State Championship game, an 8-0 shutout of Issaquah. Junior Michael Moran and sophomore Jack Heed (4gb) completed the long pole domination of the game last night.

On offense, junior midfielder Augie Fratt had 8 goals on 12 shots, including Bellevue’s first six. Joe Bethke (2g, 2a) was most effective when he attacked from X but Coach Baumann rotated him at midfield as well, giving the MI defense a different look. Cameron McMahon added a couple as well, and was really effective inside.

BellevueMI 2016 (37 of 77)
MI’s Senior goalie Ezra Tillinger

Mercer Island’s all-everything senior goalie Ezra Tillinger did his best in the cage. Without his effort it would have been a blood bath. Tillinger brings a big surly body to the net for the Islanders and he clocked 15 saves, many of which were from the edge of the crease. He’ll need to rally his defense as the Islanders head into the postseason, because they had no answers in this game.

But there’s not a lot of time to fix things. As the Kingco #3 seed, they will travel to Peninsula High School Tuesday night to face the Narrows Conference #1 seed, 12-1 Gig Harbor.  Meanwhile the Wolverines will host Stanwood the same night.  On to the postseason…

BellevueMI 2016 (38 of 77)
Afternoon in The Jungle. Plenty of seats available

A final note. . . I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to question the school administrators who, once again, made this an afternoon game, out of concern for it getting out of hand in the stands. In doing so, they make one of the great lacrosse experiences in Washington unavailable for most fans. You’d think the admins would have better things to focus on these days, especially over in Bellevue. Go fix your WIAA sports, leave ours alone.

More photos from this and lots of WA High School lacrosse action are available at SoundLacrosse. Proceeds go directly to NW Lax Charities.

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