Issaquah lacrosse team’s pursuit of perfection comes to stunning end

May 22, 2012

By Matt Carstens

King’s Way cuts short Issaquah lacrosse’s state playoffs, 9-8

Julian Ritchie, Issaquah High School sophomore, sinks to his knees as King’s Way celebrates its 9-8 upset of the Eagles’ lacrosse team. By Greg Farrar

Perfection is often dreamed about, but rarely achieved.

Those dreams came to an abrupt end as Issaquah High School lacrosse lost its first round playoff game to King’s Way, 9-8, on May 19.

The Issaquah defense was uncharacteristically on its heels to start the game, going down 5-3 in the first quarter. Losing early possessions off of the face-offs haunted the Eagles early on.

“We can’t give up eight goals in the first half, that’s the issue,” Issaquah head coach Brandon Fortier said. “We basically pitched a shutout in the second half until that last one. We’re bound to give up one, so we just can’t give up eight in the first half.”

Getting key ground balls seemed to be a problem for Fortier’s squad. When Issaquah did possess the ball, scoring wasn’t a problem.

“King’s Way made some good adjustments offensively, but we didn’t win enough ground balls,” Fortier said. “We had moments to win ground balls that we just didn’t and they probably had 60 percent of the possession. They weren’t stopping us — when we had the ball we scored. They had the ball too much and we didn’t get the stops.”

Starting the fourth quarter down 8-5, Issaquah scored three dramatic unanswered goals in the span of four minutes. Tied at eight apiece, the momentum of the game seemed to swing dramatically in Issaquah’s favor.

“I think they finally realized their season was on the line and some guys started flying around,” Fortier said.

But not long after it seemed like everything was lining up for Issaquah, King’s Way caught possession, was patient and stuck one more in the net, deflating the crowd with just 30 seconds left on the clock.

Issaquah won the ensuing face-off and called a timeout with 15 seconds left to play.

“We have a play called 14 and we just said, ‘OK there’s 15 seconds left, let’s run a 14,’” Fortier said. “Everybody has to flash hard and put themselves in a position to be a threat. Ben (Director) has been our leader so we let him take it.”

Director passed to Alex Ciszewski in a tight window, who was instantly smothered by the King’s Way defense.

“He thought Alex was open so he got it to him, but Alex was in a tough spot where he couldn’t really get a shot and time ran out,” Fortier said.

And so the season ended. And although Issaquah’s first loss couldn’t have come at a worse time, Fortier told his team he was proud of what they had accomplished.

“I just wanted to let them know as much as this hurts, it doesn’t define their life,” Fortier said. “And that this is a good lesson and it will make them better people. That they should cherish the friendships that they’ve built, and the guys that are coming back next year will work hard and hopefully try to pull a shocker of their own, and the guys that are moving on can get an ounce of comfort from that.”

Matt Carstens: 392-6434, ext. 236, or ip-sports@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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