A showdown between rival water polo teams separated by a mere four miles went to the Bellevue Wolverines.
The Wolverines defeated Mercer Island 5-2 in the regional championship game on May 20. Bellevue, which will be a No. 1 seed at the state tournament taking place this weekend, captured a regional girls water polo title for the first time in school history with the victory.
Morgan Baker scored a game-high three goals in the win. Natasha Schmid and Jenna Frazer added a goal apiece as well. Wolverines coach Evan Kaseguma said his team was excited after defeating Mercer Island in the regional title contest.
“They were excited to be the first team to do it (regional title), but I think they were more excited because the win sets us up for hopefully a strong run at the state tournament. That is really the focus of this team,” Kaseguma said.
The Wolverines captured fourth place at the state tournament last season but expectations this season are considerably higher.
“I think this is the first time we feel like we have a legitimate chance to win it. The team that we’re likely to play in the semifinals (Curtis Vikings) is a team that we’ve beat once and lost to once. They are a really good team,” Kaseguma said. “We have the confidence if we play them and have really strong game that we have a shot to make it (championship game).”
If the Wolverines do indeed get past Curtis, they will likely face the powerhouse Gig Harbor Tides in the title game.
“They are a really strong program and we’ve played them pretty tough. The girls know that we need to play our best water polo in order to have a chance but I think there is a really strong belief this year that we have a chance. That is all you can hope for,” Kaseguma said.
Kaseguma said the Wolverines roster put in the preparation during the off-season and it’s paying dividends this spring.
“We knew we had a lot of talent coming back. It wasn’t a surprise that we’ve had the success that we’ve had,” he said. “We put ourselves in a position to have a really strong year.”