Late Bellevue goal stuns Eastside Catholic lacrosse

June 3, 2014

By Neil Pierson

After expending so much energy to get back in the game, the Eastside Catholic Crusaders’ perfect season ended on a perfect shot.
Bellevue’s Eric Haehl scored with 9 seconds to play, lifting the Wolverines over the Crusaders 8-7 in the semifinals of the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association Division I state tournament, May 28 at Eastside Catholic’s Acosta Field.
Two-time defending state champion Bellevue (19-2) benefited from a controversial foul in the final minute. Eastside goalkeeper Josh Matte saved a shot and picked up the ground ball, but a teammate was called for pushing, giving Bellevue possession and the chance to hold for a final shot.
Haehl made no mistake from about 20 yards away, firing a low shot past Matte for the game-winner.
“It was a great shot from Eric Haehl,” Eastside head coach Gordon MacIlvennie said. “Our goalie, he can’t stop them all.”
It was a heartbreaking end to the season for the Crusaders, who finished 17-1. They obliterated their competition during the regular season, going 16-0 and outscoring opponents 284-45.
“The schedule we had, the conference we were in, didn’t challenge us as much as we wanted,” MacIlvennie noted. “So we had to make adjustments during the course of the year and prepare like we were playing Bellevue, Issaquah and Mercer Island each and every game.”
The Crusaders struggled during the first half and went to halftime trailing, 5-1. The Wolverines scored three goals in a three-minute span of the second quarter, two of them courtesy of freshman midfielder Augie Fratt.
Things got worse for Eastside when Hank Bethke scored two minutes into the second half, putting Bellevue ahead 6-1. In an attempt to jumpstart the defense, the Crusaders changed goalies, taking out Colin Schriever in favor of Matte.
“We just needed to get a fresh set of eyes in there, someone that was seeing the ball better,” MacIlvennie said. “Josh Matte, who is a commit to the University of Denver, really stood on his head.”
Eastside’s rally began midway through the third period when Ross Komenda notched an unassisted goal. Bellevue’s Joe Bethke scored two minutes later, but Eastside’s Colin MacIlvennie – a 2013 All-American who will play for Maryland next year – scored consecutive goals and assisted on Blake Lee’s tally, drawing the Crusaders within 7-5 entering the fourth period.
Within three minutes, Eastside evened the score. MacIlvennie circled the net and hit Chase Bultez for a score, and after a Bellevue penalty gave Eastside a man advantage, Lee made a powerful run toward the net and tied it, 7-7.
At that point, Lee said, it felt like the Crusaders’ game to win.
“It was a horrible feeling that we were down by however much we were down by,” he said, “and I think that really sparked that we had a chance, because we were getting down a little bit until halftime.”
The Crusaders had several shots at the go-ahead goal, but all them missed the net or were saved by Bellevue’s Cole Cansler.
When Haehl’s shot rippled the net with the clock winding down, the comeback came up short.
“It sucks, but I’m happy with the season,” said Lee, a senior from Issaquah who will play for Chapman (Calif.) University next season.
“We played a heck of a game out there tonight, and we didn’t come out on top like we would’ve liked to, obviously, but I’m proud of this team and I think we had an incredible season. I’m happy for that to have been the only game that we lost.”
Eastside’s roster included six Sammamish residents: senior Jeffrey Foreman, juniors Arend Broekmate, Zackary Steffens and Grant Sampson, and sophomores Chase Steiner and Chandler Toliver.
Gordon MacIlvennie, the team’s first-year head coach, said the season as a whole was successful even though it didn’t end with a state title.
“Overall, the boys prepared well. They listened,” he said. “They were very receptive to what the coaches told them, and they played their hearts out. A lot of kids saw a lot of action, and I’m very proud of what they accomplished.”

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