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Bellevue East Lacrosse Heads to State Championships

The game winner advanced Bellevue East directly to the state championship game and erased the Klahowya Eagles’ hopes of a perfect season.

SILVERDALE – Kayla Miller came up with the ball on the opening draw of the third overtime and charged into the Klahowya zone, scoring the shorthanded game winner just 15 seconds into the mandatory sudden death period, as Bellevue East stunned the previously undefeated Eagles in the girls Division II state lacrosse semifinals, Wednesday at Central Kitsap Junior High in Silverdale.

The game winner advanced Bellevue East directly to the state championship game and erased the Eagles’ hopes of a perfect season. The berth in Saturday’s title matchup against Overlake is the first for the four-year-old Bellevue East program and first for first-year coach Craig Vanderhorn.

“This was an incredibly gutsy performance by both teams to push the game that far,” said Vanderhorn, a 10-year veteran lacrosse coach who previously led the Mercer Island girls program. “By the time we got to the third overtime it could have gone either way. Whoever got the first possession (in the third OT period) was going to win it.”

Miller’s goal came with Bellevue East playing at a three-player advantage, as she fired a rocket high on Klahowya goaltender Sheri McCarty’s stick side, burying the ball deep within the Eagles’ cage.

“Off the draw it looked like Kayla had an angle and I was thinking ‘it looks like she is going to score’,” said Vanderhorn. “That’s how she did it in the first overtime.”

After finishing the first half with a narrow 7 - 6 lead, Bellevue East gave up 7 goals in the second including Jacky Hennegan’s short-handed tying goal with 1:06 remaining to send the game into overtime.

For most of the second, Klahowya played down a player after the Eagles, who were down just 9 – 7 with 19:44 remaining, were issued their third yellow card of the game on a slashing infraction. By rule, a team plays down a player for the third and subsequent yellow cards received in a game.

Following a Rocki Winkler goal at 3:28 to bring Klahowya to within a goal, the Eagles were issued their fourth yellow card just 29 seconds later on a cross check, forcing the squad to play down two players. And with 48 seconds remaining in regulation, Klahowya was issued their third yellow card, which ultimately set the tone for the rest of the game.

In the first 3-minute overtime, with Klahowya down a mandatory three players, Bellevue East struck first on a Miller goal at 2:19 and six seconds later on a Sophie Wolz goal to make it 15 – 13. With 1:57 remaining, Klahowya’s Katie Smiley brought the game to within a goal and Hennegan forced the second extra period on a goal with 17 seconds remaining.

After changing sides in the second OT, Wolz struck first at 1:59 to put Bellevue East up, but again Hennegan came to the rescue, this time feeding a nifty pass to Kelsey Gleeson who beat Bellevue East goaltender Sam Gunnerson to send the game into decisive sudden death period.

“After a game like this it’s kind of hard to get over it and to be conscious of where we are going,” said Vanderhorn. “These girls have worked so hard all year long. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a team that has bonded like this.”

Wolze led Bellevue east with 4 goals and 5 assists, while Sullivan, Miller and Charlotte McArn all scored 3 goals and Gunnerson had 7 saves. For Klahowya, Hennegan finished with 5 goals, an assist and 5 draw controls, while Gleeson and Winkler each netted 3 goals and Sheri McCarty had 15 saves in the Eagles’ cage.

Bellevue East finished the season 10-2-0, losing two of its last three games. On April 29 Bellevue East dropped an 18 – 17 decision to Overlake, on May it defeat North Kitsap 22 – 4 and finished the season in a 13 – 12 loss to Lake Sammamish on May 6.

In the quarterfinal round, Sullivan scored 7 goals to lead Bellevue East past Bainbridge’s Division II squad 20 – 7.

Klahowya finished the season 13-1-0. The Eagles advanced to the semifinals after finishing the regular season with 12 straight wins and dropping Ballard 9 – 7 in the quarterfinals.

Bellevue East takes on Overlake in the Washington Lacrosse Division II High School State Championship, this Saturday, May 21 at Charlie Acosta Field on the campus of the Eastside Catholic School in Sammamish. The Division II game gets underway at 11 a.m.

SCORING HIGHLIGHTS: Bellevue East 17, Klahowya 16 3OT – Bellevue East advances to state championship (Sophie Wolz, BE, 4 goals, 5 assists, 4 ground balls, 2 draw controls; Camille Sullivan, BE, 3 goals, 6 ground balls, 3 draw controls; Kayla Miller, BE, 3 goals, 1 assist, 5 ground balls, 8 draw controls; Charlotte McArn, BE, 3 goals; Elena Becker, BE, 2 ground balls; 3 caused turnovers; Sam Gunnerson, BE, 7 saves; Jacky Hennegan, K, 7 goals, 1 assist, 1 ground ball, 5 draw control, 1 caused turnover; Kelsey Gleeson, K, 3 goals, 1 ground ball, 1 draw control, 1 caused turnover; Rocki Winkler, K, 3 goals, 2 assists, 1 ground ball; Sammy Borson, K, 1 goal, 2 draw controls, 1 caused turnover; Katie Smiley, K, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 ground balls; 3 draw controls; Sheri McCarty, K, 15 saves)

-- Information from US Lacrosse, Washington Chapter and Bellevue East Lacrosse

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