Issaquah High School lacrosse closes out perfect 21-0 season

May 15, 2012

By Matt Carstens

Matt O’Neill, Issaquah High School senior, fires the first goal of the lacrosse match May 11 as Eastlake junior Danny Keogh defends and Issaquah senior Cole Greer looks on. By Greg Farrar

The clock struck 7:48 in the first quarter and it was business as usual for the Issaquah High School boys lacrosse team. A spin, a juke and a furious goal from senior Matt O’Neill would be the first of many as Issaquah finished their perfect season by beating Eastlake, 13-4, May 11.

Despite the storybook ending to an undefeated 21-0 season, head coach Brandon Fortier said he knows there’s one more step if the Eagles are going to make this a season to remember.

“It’s a nice asterisk in the record book,” he said. “It’s cool, it’s something our program’s never done. It’s always cool accomplishing things you’ve never done, but we know that it’s not going to mean a whole lot and we’ll forget it real quick if we don’t take care of business.”

With the post season lurking May 19, Issaquah is focused on the short road ahead.

“It’s a new season,” Fortier said. “We have three games left. If we can run the table then it’ll be really special. Right now, it doesn’t really mean a whole lot.”

Although Fortier isn’t reveling in the glory right now, he’s still impressed by what his kids were able to accomplish this year.

“I would have never guessed we’d go undefeated,” he said. “We’ve had other clubs that were more talented and were in a better position to go undefeated and didn’t. The closest we ever got to it was 2008. We lost one regular season game to Bainbridge and then we won the state title that year and went 23-1.

“Again I think the biggest thing with this team is chemistry, we’ve really come together and gotten better every day.”

That chemistry undoubtedly has come from the leadership of Fortier’s core seniors. The “Soph Six” as they call themselves, have been on this team since their sophomore year in 2010. Two of the six include the offensive force of O’Neill and Ben Director, who were part of the 2009 Issaquah state championship team.

“They know what it takes and their leadership is one of the reasons we’ve been able to be successful this year,” Fortier said. “They want to lead a team to a championship.”

Since they were only freshman in 2009, playing time was scarce, but O’Neill and Director say that experience has driven their competitive fire this season.

“It’s always made me hungry for another one,” O’Neill said. “Because I was a freshman, there were other superior attackmen to me, so I didn’t get to touch the field all that much. So it definitely made me more hungry for another championship. Ever since then we’ve been trying to get back to Memorial Stadium.”

Director echoed his teammate’s sentiments.

“There were only four of us that were on that team,” he said. “And most of us didn’t play. I saw the field for like 15 seconds, Cole (Greer) and Matt for a couple minutes. But we saw how that team came to work each day and were committed and also how close the whole team was. We haven’t consciously tried to do it, but I think we’ve sort of emulated that team.”

The Eagles perfect season was rewarded with a first-round bye. They will host the winner of King’s Way and Skyline at 7 p.m. on May 19.

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