BELLEVUE, WA - Bellevue began their defense of the state title Thursday night, as the Kamiak Knights rolled into town for a quarterfinal playoff matchup. The Knights were brimming with confidence, as they entered the game sporting a 12-1 record and a gaudy 17.4 goals/game average. But last night’s game presented a different challenge for the Knights. This was no longer the Wesco Conference. This was a playoff game, on the road, against the #1 seed from the best conference in the state, and from the opening faceoff, it was apparent that the Knights had taken a step up in weight class.
Bellevue jumped on the Knights early, winning possessions and executing with precision on the offensive end. The Wolverines moved the ball well on their first several possessions, getting high percentage shots that found the net nearly every time. In the blink of an eye, the Wolverines had built a 6-0 lead. Kamiak would finally get on the board late in the quarter, thanks in large part to a Wolverine penalty. Bellevue was hit with a one minute non-releasable penalty for not wearing a mouth guard, one of three such penalties levied against Bellevue on the night. The Knights followed the man-up goal with another tally in the closing seconds of the quarter, narrowing the gap to 6-2 at the end of Q1.
Bellevue continued to control the game in the second quarter, building their lead to 8-2 before Kamiak responded with their 3rd goal of the night. The half would end with Bellevue holding a commanding 8-3 lead, a lead that would have been even larger were it not for the impressive play of the Kamiak freshman goalie, Joshua Goodwin. His many saves, several of them against point blank shots from Bellevue, was the lone bright spot for the Knights, who looked generally over-matched for most of the game.
Meanwhile, the Bellevue offense was hitting on all cylinders. The Wolverines had 8 players get into the scoring column, led by senior attackman Joe Bethke, who had a career night with 4 goals and 4 assists. On the defensive end, the Wolverines frustrated Kamiak all night long, forcing turnovers and disrupting their attempted clears. In the end, Bellevue would hold Kamiak to their lowest output of the year, well below their season average.
The second half looked very similar to the first, as Bellevue scored two goals in Q3 – one of them coming off the long pole of junior defender Michael Medzegian – and shut out the Knights in the period to make it 10-3. They would cruise from there to a 14-5 victory. It was a great start to the playoffs for a Bellevue team that hasn’t always played their best against lesser competition.
The warm-up is over, though. As the #1 seed out of Kingco, the Wolverines received a first round bye and a favorable match-up in the quarterfinals, but now things start to get serious as Bellevue will face a surging Skyline team in the semi-finals next Wednesday. It took overtime for the Wolverines to topple the Spartans during the regular season, and by all accounts, the Spartans have continued to improve throughout the course of the year. Bellevue’s young team has made strides as well, so it should be a great matchup next week.
The Bellevue Junior Varsity team finished off their season Friday evening with an away victory at Mercer Island. 29 Junior Varsity and swing players participated in the game, a game that was controlled by the Wolverines from start to finish. The final was 7-3 and marked the second time this year that Bellevue had defeated Mercer island, the previous win coming at home in a 7-0 shutout.
In addition to the two victories over Mercer Island, the JV team also had several impressive wins this year including victories over two D2 varsity teams (one of which hosted a first round D2 playoff game this past weekend) and decisive victories over Tahoma, Woodinville, Issaquah, Eastside Catholic, and Lakeridge (OR). The team finished with a 14-2 record, averaging over 10 goals a game while allowing only 3. They also registered five shutouts, and were undefeated after spring break. The two losses this year were by a combined three goals.
It was an amazing year, and while there were many great games and individual performances, what was truly special was the amount of growth and development each player made over the course of the season. The Wolverine JV team is arguably the best junior varsity in the State, and will be sending ten players to join the varsity roster for the playoffs. According to Coach Eidson, “That number could have even been larger with the amount of impactful players we have had the opportunity to coach this year.”
Congratulations to the JV team on a great season. The future is bright for Bellevue Lacrosse!
WOODINVILLE, WA - Bellevue made the trek up 405 to take on Woodinville Tuesday night in the final game of the regular season. The Wolverines were looking to rebound from a lackluster performance against Tahoma just a few days earlier, and gain some momentum going into the playoffs. For the first few quarters, however, the team seemed to be suffering from some of the same issues that cost them the game against the Bears.
Much like Saturday night against Tahoma, the Wolverines started out sluggish, falling behind the Falcons 2-0 early. Justin Angelel finally got things going for Bellevue, getting underneath his defender on the left wing and bouncing one into the net. That made it 2-1, and it would stay that way through the end of Q1. Augie Fratt got the Wolverines even early in the 2nd quarter, and then Matt Marino scored to put the Wolverines up 3-2, giving the first line midfield a goal each.
Woodinville played a very deliberate game offensively. They were content to move the ball around the perimeter, probing the defense for openings and milking the clock. The strategy paid off mid way through the 2nd quarter when they found an unguarded attackman near the crease and tied the game at 3-3. Another long Falcon possession consumed much of the quarter, but after a turnover, Marino split the middle of the Falcon defense and put Bellevue back up by a goal. Shortly thereafter the Wolverines had a golden opportunity on a fastbreak, but the Falcons' goalie made a nice save and launched a counter attack to the other end of the field. Noah Bamesberger finished the possession for Woodinville with an underhand shot that found the net, and the teams went into the half tied at 4-4.
The Wolverine offense (and clearing game) continued to look out of sync for much of the 3rd quarter, but the defense tightened up, forcing several Falcon turnovers. The game was a little sloppy for much of the quarter, but Bellevue managed to regain the lead when Fratt buried a shot from 15 yards on an extra man opportunity, putting Bellevue up 5-4. The offense started to get things going a little later when, following a timeout, the offense moved the ball crisply around the perimeter and found Paul Johnson who beat the goalie with a confident stroke from the left wing. Junior Joe Bethke followed with a charge to the rack, dodging several Falcons and scoring to put Bellevue up 3. It looked as though the half would end that way, but Woodinville midfielder Alex Blue split two defenders with a swim dodge and threw in a bouncer with 2.3 seconds to go to close within 2 at 7-5 as the quarter expired.
Bellevue got things revved up in the final period. Angelel beat his man with a hitch and a lefty strike. Once again the Falcons answered to keep it a two goal game at 8-6, but that was all the scoring the Wolverine defense would allow. Bethke and Johnson got together behind the cage and executed a little two-man game that led to a goal by Johnson from just above goal line extended. Then senior Michael Belden fired one in off of a nice lefty dodge. Fratt would cap the scoring for Bellevue, taking the ball near midfield and weaving through defenders to get to the goal and score the final tally. Fratt's hat trick made it 11-6, and that's how the game would end.
It wasn't quite the crisp, efficient game that coach Baumann would have liked to see, but the Wolverines buckled down when they needed to and got the W. Now their attention turns to the state playoffs where they will be the #1 seed out of Kingco. They will have a first round bye, playing the winner of the round one matchup between Kamiak and Bainbridge. Should the Wolverines get through the quarterfinals, both Tahoma and a dangerous Skyline team will be lurking in the bottom half of the bracket. One of those two teams would be a likely foe in the semi-finals.
Bellevue honored three seniors at half time of the game against Tahoma last Saturday night. Playing in their last regular season game at BHS Stadium were defender Tate Nordstrom, Midfielder Michael Belden, and Attackman Chris Callison.
Tate is going to Colorado State University next year and plans to play in the MCLA for the Rams. Tate grew up in a lacrosse family and started playing in third grade and is the third of three brothers who have all been Varsity captains. He's come a long way from the little kid who said he only played lacrosse because his brothers would kill him if he didn't. Next year he looks forward to playing in the Alumni game on the same side as his brothers Drew and Cole.
Michael Belden joined the Bellevue lacrosse program his junior year, having played previously for Eastside Catholic and Seattle Starz. He is proud to be part of this program and appreciates that his coaches have given him a better knowledge of the game than he would have received anywhere else. This summer he will play for the Long Island Sting and attend Pomfret School in the fall for a post graduate year.
Chris is off to study architecture at Montana State University in Bozeman. He started playing lax at age 9 and has loved it ever since. He played for Chris Bergin on the 7/8 Blue Team, then C Team, JV and finally Varsity his Junior & Senior Years. He was named Captain in November and has helped lead a great Bellevue team this year.
We want to congratulate these seniors on their accomplishments as part of the Bellevue Lacrosse program, and wish them the best of luck in the future, on and off the field.