When Overlake lacrosse coach Henry Valentine looked at his roster at the beginning of the season, he thought it might be a challenge to make the playoffs.
The Owls not only made the state tournament for the eighth straight year, they tied the greatest season in school history.
Overlake won its first game in the state tournament against Whatcom, 8-5, last Friday to make it to the Division II state semifinals before finally falling to Northshore, 14-7, on Wednesday.
The only other time Overlake has reached the state semifinals was 2005.
“This was the best team effort we’ve ever had,” said Valentine, the nine-year head coach. “This was a year where we knew that we had to play as a team to be successful and we were able to do that. We had our ups and downs all year, but we really did gel at the right time.”
George Dolack scored three goals and added an assist against Northshore. Will Burgett, Devon Schmidt, Michael Nelson and Scout Tweedie-Yates all added goals for the Owls, who won the Eastside Conference with a 8-2 record.
What made this season challenging is that eight of the players, including many of the starters, are members of the Overlake soccer team, which plays its regular season in the fall but competes in the state tournament in the spring.
“It’s been a real challenge,” Valentine said. “But I have to admit, it has worked better. Just the cooperation from (head soccer coach) Bob Bristol and with the size of our school, it takes a very, very high level of coordination to allow two teams to play in the state tournament when eight of the players are soccer players.”
This was a young team this year, with the bulk of the players on the roster being sophomores. But Valentine credited the 12 seniors with playing a crucial role on the team.
“The seniors came together at the right time when the team really needed it,” Valentine said. “The seniors came to me before the first playoff game and said ‘We are going to get this one.’ That was pretty cool. Not in an arrogant, cocky way, but in a we-are-committed way.”
The fact that Overlake was able to have success this year with such a young roster has Valentine already looking forward to what the Owls can accomplish next year.
“I’m just stoked because it means we are not starting over next year,” Valentine said. “We are building.”
And the Owls are building off one of the greatest seasons in the program’s history. One that not even the head coach saw coming.
“Before the season started, looking at who I had in returning players, I thought if we made the playoffs we are doing well,” Valentine said. “I saw something in terms of the level of commitment in the first two weeks of practice that told me we were going to make a decent run at this.”
Redmond Lacrosse slips up in semis
The Redmond Lacrosse Club’s remarkable run came to an end in the Division II state semifinals, falling to undefeated Seattle Prep, 7-4, on Wednesday at Madison Park in Seattle.
After winning just one game under the name Eastside in Division I last year, RLC won its first nine games this year and won the Cascade Division with a better goal differential than Northshore, which had the same 9-1 record. Northshore will play Seattle Prep for the state title after it defeated Overlake 14-7 on Wednesday. Overlake and Northshore, both of which played under the same Eastside umbrella, split its regular-season contests.
RLC has only three seniors on the team this year, led by John Burke, who will attend Minnesota-based Saint John’s University. John Olin has statistically been one of the best goalies in Division II all season, and Greg Kautz has been a key starter this season.
RLC should be state-tournament contender again next year considering its impressive youngsters, including freshman Jake Bernstein, who scored two of the team’s four goals against Seattle Prep.
Junior Tyler Dougherty led the team in points and assists, while junior Hunter MacDonald and sophomore Nolan Dahl were tied for fourth on the team in goals.
Overlake girls wrap-up strong season
The Overlake girls lacrosse team’s season came to an end on Monday, falling to Nathan Hale 13-9 in the Division B state tournament.
The season showed remarkable improvement for Overlake, which improved from 2-11-1 to 8-5 this year and from second-to-last to fifth in the 14-team Division B league. The season included great play from the team’s five seniors, including Kate Stinson who scored 20 goals despite playing in just eight games after a soccer injury forced her to miss the first half of the year.
Senior Kristey Dey made a major impact in her first year playing varsity lacrosse with 16 goals, including a hat trick in the regular season finale, and goalie Kelly Roper finished her third year as a varsity player, ending with a 7-5 regular season record.
But Overlake appears to be a program on the rise, with five juniors and four sophomores on the roster, many of them making major impacts on this year’s team. Sophomore Alison Havran led the team with 34 goals and 51 points.
Junior Emily Warden will be a four-year varsity player next year, and is coming off a season where she led the Owls in assists (21) and was second in points (37). Junior Alex MacKenzie was the anchor of the team’s defense and sophomore Claire Krueger has continued to improve.