In a showdown between rival programs, the Bellevue Wolverines girls soccer team came up with a clutch goal in the 75th minute to conquer the rival Mercer Island team.
Wolverines’ junior midfielder Kiley Suter connected on a goal from 20 yards out, giving Bellevue a 1-0 lead with five minutes left in regulation. Bellevue’s defense didn’t allow Mercer Island to score in the final five minutes, preserving a 1-0 win for the Wolverines in front of their hometown fans on Oct. 13 in Bellevue. Bellevue improved their overall record to 10-0-2 with the victory. Mercer Island dropped to 5-5-2 with the loss.
Bellevue head coach Peter Cochran was glad to see Suter’s shot find the back of the net in a game that proved to be a defensive battle in inclement weather conditions consisting of a downpour of precipitation.
“Kiley just hit a phenomenal strike that was unsavable,” Cochran said. “Their keeper (Bella Johnson) had a great night but on a shot like that there is really nothing you can do. She (Suter) hit a great shot.”
Bellevue had five corner kicks in the first half, but couldn’t convert that into goals due to Mercer Island’s formidable defense. Johnson, who is the Mercer Island keeper, made key saves throughout the game. Islanders’ defenders consistently denied Bellevue on corner kicks by getting to the ball in the air first.
“I thought the Mercer Island team played remarkably well and very organized on defense,” Cochran said of Mercer Island. “It just took us a long time to break them down but we were confident that if we just kept doing what we were doing that things would eventually go our way.”
Mercer Island head coach Ryan Camden was encouraged by his team’s performance despite the loss. The Islanders controlled the flow of the game early in the second half (40th to 60th minute) and their defense consistently stymied Bellevue’s offense for the majority of the night.
“Our keeper (Johnson) kept us in the game and our backline (defenders) did well. It was an evenly-matched game throughout,” Camden said. “I thought there was a lot of positive things from this game that we can definitely take on to the next game. We’ll regroup and get ready for the next step.”
The rivalry between the Islanders and Wolverines athletic programs is something both teams thoroughly enjoy. The Wolverines and Islanders battled to a 1-1 tie in their first matchup of the season on Sept. 20.
“These rivalry games are always very tight. The two high schools couldn’t be more similar,” Cochran said. “Everyone takes it very seriously. I’m sure the girls are thrilled to get a win so close to the end (of the season).”