Totems display their resiliency in defeat against Islanders

Sammamish plays Mercer Island tough, but can’t score game-tying goal in second half.

In the final 20 minutes of regulation, the Sammamish Totems boys soccer team spent the majority of its time on Mercer Island’s side of the field.

Mercer Island, which took a 1-0 lead when senior forward Matthew Capone connected on a shot on goal that found the back of the net in the 13th minute of play, found themselves being challenged mightily by the Totems down the stretch. The Totems offense had four solid shots on goal but couldn’t connect with the equalizer that would had tied the game as the Islanders held on for a 1-0 victory on March 26 in Bellevue. Mercer Island improved its overall record to 4-0-2 with the win while Sammamish dropped to 2-3 overall.

“I thought our backline (defenders) just held strong like we’ve been doing all season. We’ve only conceded goals twice at this point. These guys just don’t like getting scored on,” Islanders head coach Forrest Marowitz said.

Sammamish longtime head coach Darryl Gonyea was proud of his team’s performance in defeat.

“A bounce here and a bounce there and this was an even game. It could had gone either way. We made some changes at halftime that I thought really worked well for us. We were able to keep control of the ball in the second half quite a bit. I’m very happy with the way we responded,” Gonyea said.

The Totems, who were one victory away from advancing to the Class 2A state tournament in 2018, are steadily improving year in and year out on the soccer field.

“We’re not sneaking up on anybody anymore. Everybody is giving us their best game so we got to have our best game. This is a very coachable group and they play hard for each other,” Gonyea said. “We have to be ready to take everybody’s best punch. We did that in the first half and in the second half I thought it could had gone either way. We’ll see them again. We will work on things and get better.”