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Bellevue blanks Issaquah for third straight boys lacrosse state title | Prep sports news

Bellevue players celebrate their Division I lacrosse state title with head coach John Baumann at Seattle Memorial Stadium after beating Issaquah 8-0. - Sue Larkin, U.S. Lacrosse Washington
Bellevue players celebrate their Division I lacrosse state title with head coach John Baumann at Seattle Memorial Stadium after beating Issaquah 8-0.
— image credit: Sue Larkin, U.S. Lacrosse Washington

Bellevue knew things would be different this time around.

After losing to Issaquah 6-5 earlier in the season, the Wolverines' first and only loss to an in-state foe in two years, players and coaches vowed to make amends, should the opportunity arise in the state tournament.

Saturday in front of a crowd of more than 1,800 at Seattle Memorial Stadium they did just that, recording the first shutout in state title game history in an emphatic 8-0 win over the Eagles to claim their third consecutive state championship.

"We did a great job and were really prepared," head coach John Baumann said. "We were excited to get another chance to play them."

Hank Bethke got things going for the attack with a pair of first quarter goals, before Augie Fratt found the back of the net to put his team ahead 3-0 at halftime.

That was more than senior goalie Cole Cansler and the defense would need, as Baumann said assistant coach Ashkaan Jaberi prepared a solid game plan his team executed to perfection.

"Team defense is key in lacrosse," he said. "The key was execution and they did that tonight on the big stage."

Cansler finished with seven saves, and said after the game he and his teammates did not need any reminder of their setback to Issaquah earlier in the season.

"We definitely talked about it," he said. "We thought we played one of our worst games. We wanted the payback."

Cansler and the defense continued to assert control in the second half, stifling Issaquah scoring chances and dominating the possession off ground balls, something Eagles' coach Brandon Fortier said played a critical role in the outcome.

"They strip the ball and come up with ground balls," Fortier said of the Wolverines, adding his own team seemed pressed by the Wolverines' early advantage. "They have great lacrosse IQ and are disciplined. They are solid."

While the title was far from a first for Baumann and a group of Wolverines that now own three consecutive championships and four of the past five, he said every trophy earns a unique place because of the journey.

"I love watching them complete their goal," he said, adding there was some extra motivation to see a pair of four-year varsity players do so in Bethke and Eric Haehl. "They are truly All-American kids."

Brothers get on board for Bellevue

Senior Hank Bethke finished with a pair of goals and two more assists, providing a fitting finish to his prep career and prelude to his future at the Ohio State University.

But his best moment had nothing to do with his own success in his final game as a Wolverine.

Younger brother Joe also scored two goals in the win, and Hank said the chance to play his final year with Bellevue alongside Joe will provide the most lasting memories.

"It has been cool to watch him grow as a lacrosse player," Hank said. "We're best friends."

The two had never been on the same team before this year, and Joe said the opportunity to play alongside his brother and another All-American in Haehl provided priceless experience for the future.

"He's always been a great player," Joe said. "I've watched him growing up and he has shown me a lot. It's great to win this together."

Bellevue's Hank Bethke ducks an Issaquah defender during Saturday's Washington Lacrosse Boys Division I State Championship Game at Seattle's Memorial Stadium. Bellevue's Campbell Alexieff and Issaquah's Aaron Evans look on. Michael Jardine, US Lacrosse

Bellevue goalie Cole Cansler played a large role throughout the season, and especially in his team's state title game win. US Lacrosse

With two Issaquah defenders in pursuit, Bellevue senior Eric Haehl (left) winds up for a shot during Saturday's Washington Lacrosse Boys Division I State Championship game at Seattle's Memorial Stadium. Kurt DeVoe, US Lacrosse

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