Issaquah downs Bainbridge in battle of lacrosse titans

The last time the two teams clashed, Issaquah defeated Bainbridge for the 2008 Division I state lacrosse championship.

The last time the two teams clashed, Issaquah defeated Bainbridge for the 2008 Division I state lacrosse championship.

The stakes weren’t as high in Tuesday night’s regular-season matchup, but in terms of this season, they couldn’t get any larger. Coming off a disappointing 6-4 loss to Mercer Island on Saturday, the Eagles rose to the challenge against the rival Spartans, earning a 12-8 victory.

“We took that pretty hard because MI is probably one of our biggest competitors, but we came out for revenge tonight,” senior defender Connor McClain said.

Perhaps even more important than getting back in the win column, Issaquah put itself in prime position for the No. 2 seed in the playoffs.

“If we do what we should the rest of the season, we would take the No. 2 seed and we would probably be able to see Bainbridge again, but at least here at home,” IHS head coach Brandon Fortier said. “That was a big motivating factor.”

Issaquah wasted no time getting on the board Tuesday.

The Eagles received their first goal just 35 seconds into the game when midfielder Jordan Goldstein broke up the field and scored an unassisted goal. The senior captain scored again in at the 3:18 mark of the first, which ended in a 2-2 tie. The Eagles turned up the pressure in the second quarter, jumping out to a 6-3 halftime lead on a pair of goals from Kevin Powers, and scores from Jake Fritz and Riley Goodman. Issaquah outshot Bainbridge 23-5 in the first half, and 43-19 for the contest.

The Eagles never trailed the Spartans, as they took their largest lead of the game, 9-4, at the 8:31 mark of the third. Bainbridge closed the gap to two points with 3 minutes remaining in the quarter, but Issaquah’s offense battled back.

“We had great ball position,” McClain said. “That was the key to that. The defense wasn’t on the field all that much because we were possessing it really well. The offense helped us out tremendously tonight.”

Issaquah’s defense also came up big, holding Bainbridge’s two top scorers Sam Snow and Kevin Nguyen to three combined goals.

Todd Jones led Issaquah in points with three goals and two assists. He scored all three of his goals in the third quarter. Goldstein had three goals and one assist, and Fritz had two goals and two assists.

The Eagles moved to 8-1 in league and 10-2 overall. Baindbridge fell to 7-2 in league and 9-2 overall. Both teams trail Mercer Island, which is 9-0 in league and 11-4 overall.

Issaquah’s eyes are now set on a repeat matchup with Mercer Island, but Fortier knows his team can’t get ahead of itself.

“We don’t want to look ahead because a lot of stuff to do to get there,” he said. “We’re confident we can do much better and beat them if we get another shot. This was a good confidence booster to know that if we get back to the semis, we can get by these guys and get back to the championship.”