Issaquah lacrosse coach Brandon Fortier experienced the longest second of his life Saturday night at Seattle’s Memorial Stadium — literally.
“It felt like about 10 seconds to me,” Fortier said, smiling. “It (seriously) felt like at least 3.”
Up by one goal, with one second left in the Division I state championship, Eagle goalkeeper Cameron Danforth came up with his biggest save of the season, blocking a blast off the stick of Mercer Island’s Doug Mahony.
The deflection, which came after a penalty was called just yards for the Issaquah goal, preserved a 10-9 Issaquah victory, and marked the program’s second straight Division I title.
“I was just sitting there thinking to myself, ‘Just do everything that you’re used to doing as goalie,'” Danforth said.
The close ending contradicted most of the contest, which saw Issaquah maintain no less than a three-goal cushion through the first three quarters. The Eagles matched their largest lead of the game at the 8:45 mark of the fourth quarter when senior Jordan Goldstein blasted in his fourth goal of the game for a 10-5 lead.
Things turned quickly, however.
Mercer Island chipped away at the Issaquah lead, before pulling to within one goal with 10 seconds remaining via a score from Matthew Shields.
“I hate to sort of just hang on like that rather than putting it away, but the bottom line is, the effort was good enough, and we did enough early to deserve the win,” Fortier said.
The Eagles, who lost 6-4 to the Islanders in the regular season, hopped out to a 4-1 lead after one quarter. Jake Director had two first-quarter goals, and Jake Fritz struck for the first of his four goals with just over 2 minutes left in the first quarter.
“Our offense just got together and played good,” Fritz said, of the quick start.
Fritz scored again in the opening minute of the second quarter after an over-the-shoulder, no-look pass from Goldstein.
“I saw the ball coming to me in the middle, and I knew the defender was going to be coming straight at me, so I didn’t want to try and pass it through his stick,” Goldstein said. “I knew Jake (Fritz) was going to be there, so I just thought … why not?”
The Eagles pushed their halftime lead out to 8-4, and led 8-5 after three quarters. The Issaquah offense stalled at the start of the third quarter when senior midfielder Riley Goodman injured his collarbone on the opening face-off, and was forced from the game.
“I had to step up and try to face off,” senior Connor McClain said. “I didn’t do nearly as good of job as he did. He was going in and winning all the face-offs. It was a huge, huge loss for the ball possession when he went out.”
Fritz, along with Goldstein, each punched in early fourth-quarter goals that proved the difference. Fritz and Goldstein scored four goals apiece, and Director had two.
Michael Black and Mahoney led the Islanders with two goals apiece.
The victory not only marked Issaquah’s second straight title, but the program’s second ever Division I crown — something that won’t soon be forgotten by the group of seven graduating seniors.
“There’s no better feeling than going out on top, getting a repeat,” McClain said. “We did everything we could. All of us seniors here stepped up as much as possible. We pulled it out in the end and it feels great.”
Director, another senior, concurred.
“We proved that we’re going to be here for a while, and hopefully we can just keep the tradition alive here at Issaquah,” he said.
Eastside Catholic finishes second
Eastside Catholic couldn’t overcome an early deficit Saturday evening, falling 17-11 to Overlake in the Division II state lacrosse championship at Memorial Stadium.
The Crusaders fell behind 2-0 after 1 minute of play, and were never able to recover. Overlake led 9-7 at halftime. David Carlton scored a goal 12 seconds into the second half, pulling Eastside to within 9-8, but Overlake broke off a 4-0 run to close the third quarter.
Carlton had seven goals, and Kyle Decker added two scores for Crusaders.
This was the first state title game for both schools. Eastside, which finished 14-2 overall, started its lacrosse program just three years ago.