As seen in the Mercer Island Reporter, story by Carol Gullstad, Image of Hunter Peshkin by Jayme Witman:
Mercer Island water polo second at West Metro tourney
The Mercer Island boys water polo team traveled to Beaverton, Oregon to play against Oregon’s best in the annual West Metro Water Polo Tournament. The Islanders won five straight games to make it to the championship game, but fell just short in the tournament final, losing in sudden death overtime.
The Islanders began the tournament by rolling through pool play dispatching Westview, Lincoln and Sunset by a combined score of 48-3. Advancing to the winner’s bracket, the Islanders beat Lake Oswego 13-6.
In the tournament semifinal, the Islanders faced the Newberg Tigers, last year’s Oregon State runners-up. The Islanders held a slim 3-2 lead at the end of the first half but pulled away in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 6-1 to end the game with a 9-3 victory.
The tournament final pitted Mercer Island against Oregon’s three-time reigning state water polo champions, Southridge. The Skyhawks jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first quarter before Jack Larkin connected with Trevor Gullstad for a score at 2:06. The quarter closed with the Islanders down 4-3. At the end of the half, the Islanders remained one goal behind, trailing 6-5. Mercer Island was able to tie it up in the third off of a Conner Vacca score but missed an opportunity to go ahead on a man-up play.
In the fourth quarter, the Islanders fell behind again by one goal until Erik Raisys put in a skip shot at 1:23 to tie it at seven all. The Skyhawks fired toward the net as time expired but did not score sending the game into overtime. Southridge won the sprint and on their first possession drove down the middle to score the deciding goal, taking the tournament final over the Islanders 8-7.
Islanders survive Roosevelt in OT thriller
Earlier in the week, the Islanders prevailed in overtime against league opponent Roosevelt, a team that finished in third place in last season’s state tournament. Heading into the game the Islanders expected a challenge finding its way past Roosevelt’s goalie Jake Gordon, a member of the US Junior National Team. But Mercer Island’s goalie Hunter Peshkin showed his own chops, registering 15 saves for the game.
After the Islanders finished the first quarter down 3-2, Mercer Island energized in the second, winning the sprint to set the pace and scoring four unanswered goals. Roosevelt found the net for three straight goals of its own, with two goals scored on man-up. Mercer Island’s Erik Raisys responded, connecting with Conner Vacca to head into the half up 7-6.
Mercer Island struggled during the third quarter and was outscored 4-1 by the Roughriders. The Islanders played from behind the rest of the game until Topher Lacrampe connected with Anthony Pedreira to tie it up at 11-11 with 1:07 left to go in the fourth. Peshkin had a crucial block with four seconds left in regulation to force the game into overtime.
In overtime, Anthony Pedreira scored twice off of assists from Jack Larkin to preserve the win for Mercer Island. Pedreira led the Islanders with 8 goals for the game.
Mercer Island took on Inglemoor after the Reporter deadline Sept. 23. The Islanders will host state water polo champions and league rival Bellevue Tuesday, Sept. 30 at Mercer Island Country Club. Mercer Island fell to Bellevue 12-9 in last season’s water polo state championship game.