King's Way hits stride with trip to semis

Lacrosse team has players from throughout county

By Paul Danzer, Columbian community sports reporter

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The King's Way boys lacrosse team surprised the Issaquah Eagles — and much of the Washington lacrosse community — with Saturday's 9-8 win in the state quarterfinals.

But the Knights did not surprise their coach.

"I was happy to see the boys actually put together four quality quarters and get the win," Dave Holler said.

The victory advanced King's Way to the semifinals of the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association playoffs. King's Way, which finished tied for fourth place in its division, will play Wednesday at Eastside Catholic of Samammish. The winner will play for the state title Saturday at Memorial Stadium in Seattle against Mercer Island or Bellevue.

Senior Tyler Preston scored the game-winning goal with 30 seconds remaining, converting off a pass from Conner Dyehouse.

It was the only loss this season for Issaquah, and it ended a string of 24 home wins in a row for the Eagles dating back to the 2010 season. Issaquah had advanced to the state semifinals five consecutive years.

This is the first time King's Way has reached the semifinals at the top level of the Washington High School Boys Lacrosse Association. It is Holler's sixth season at the helm of the program, which draws players from high schools throughout Clark County, and the third year King's Way has competed at the top level.

In the win at Issaquah, Jason Klein scored three goals and collected one ground ball for King's Way. Dyehouse and Koda Wataka-Robinson each scored twice for the Knights, and Clayton Frank contributed a goal.

King's Way goalie Matt Friesen made nine saves.

Holler said that even when Issaquah tied the score in the fourth quarter, he believed the Knights would prevail because their defense was controlling play when the teams were at even strength.

"It wasn't that it was a fluke. We controlled the game," Holler said. "To come out and really control the game and see the look of shock on the faces of Issaquah players, coaches, and fans was fun."

Holler said Issaquah might have overlooked King's Way. The Eagles had beaten the Knights 18-5 on May 5 in Vancouver. Holler noted that his team is the only one in the league that plays back-to-back games throughout the season. The May 5 loss to Issaquah was the second game of that weekend, a weekend that also included SAT testing for some King's Way players.

Now, the threat of overconfidence might be switched. On March 13, in the season opener for both teams, King's Way outscored Eastside Catholic 19-11 in a match at Columbia River High School.

"Both teams have changed a lot since then," Holler said. "Up until the last two weeks I haven't seen my team put together four quarters like we did that game."