East Ridge 8, Eagan 7
The East Ridge boys lacrosse team had this game circled on their calendar since practice started in March. It was a revenge game and the Raptors wanted to make sure that happened for last year's and this year's teams.
East Ridge was taking on Eagan, who is ranked sixth in the state, on Thursday night at home. It was a section finals rematch from last season as the Wildcats defeated the Raptors to advance to the state tournament.
Eagan had all of the momentum in the first half as the Wildcats took a 5-1 lead early in the second quarter.
"We were in a similar position last time when we played them in the section finals," said East Ridge head coach Steve Van Sloun. "We know what it took to overcome this deficit and get back in the game."
The Raptors took a timeout near the end of the second quarter and discussed what needed to happen to get back in the game. Before the half ended, East Ridge followed that plan exactly allowing the Raptors to score two goals and make it a 5-3 game.
The quick goals gave East Ridge the momentum and confidence heading into the second half and it showed as the Raptors scored the next five goals to make it an 8-5 lead.
After grabbing the lead, the focus shifted from the offense to the defense as they made sure to stop Eagan from scoring.
The lead dwindled to 8-6 and finally reached 8-7 with 30 seconds left in the game. The defense needed to make a stand to earn this win and the Raptors did just that to grab the victory over a highly ranked, section rivalry team.
"It means a lot to get this win," Van Sloun said. "We've heard from many of the seniors from last season as they congratulated us on the win. It was nice to get revenge from last season, but this just means we need to keep working hard throughout this entire season."
Van Sloun added that the defense played phenomenal on Thursday night. He was also happy to get the win over the Eagan because the Wildcats coaches coached Van Sloun and his buddies about a decade ago.
Van Sloun said he and his coaching staff have so much respect for the Eagan program and he always knows it'll be a good game when East Ridge and Eagan get together.
Jack Mohler led the Raptors with three goals, while Ben Marburger was right behind him with two goals. Thomas Miles had a strong night with 17 saves at the goalie position.
"This win changes our mentality heading into the Benilde game on Saturday," Van Sloun said. "Hopefully, we can keep this momentum rolling into that game."
East Ridge will host another tough game against Benilde-St. Margaret's, who's ranked third in the state, on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m.
Park 9, Tartan 3
The Park boys lacrosse team wanted to start the season off on the right foot and the Wolfpack did exactly that with a 9-3 win over Tartan on Thursday night.
"It's always great to start the season with a win," said Lucas Hoyt. "Now, we just need to carry it into next week and the rest of the season."
It took a little bit for the Park players to calm their nerves and focus on their games in the first half. The players agreed with coach Greg Rinzel that their offense and defense continued to grow throughout the game and it was a strong second half.
At halftime, the Wolfpack led Tartan 4-2 and Park made sure to widen that lead starting in the third quarter. Before they could be aggressive, Park had three players head to sidelines for penalties.
Two of the players were there for a minute, while the other one sat for three minutes. The mindset for Park wasn't to score, but rather stop Tartan's possession for the next two or three minutes.
The Wolfpack stopped Tartan from scoring during that period and went on a run to outscore Tartan 5-1 in the second half.
"It was a big momentum shift for us because our defense locked down and prevented them from scoring," said Mason Porter. "The defense really carried us there and allowed our offense to continue scoring on the other end."
Rinzel said Park had a good second half, but there are some things that they need to focus on for next week.
Rinzel was happy with how goalie Cody Zellmer-Johnson directed the defense and was able to save some shots to keep the lead for the Wolfpack. He understands how important this defense will be for this year's team.
"We knew from the beginning that our defense will be our steadfast," Rinzel said. "We have the best defense in Park history, so I'm happy with what's going on there."
The offensive side is starting to click and Porter said he was happy with the amount of players taking shots on the goal. It shows there's plenty of weapons on the attack side for Park this upcoming season.
One of the players leading the offensive side is Drew Devaan, who had a strong night against Tartan. He's looking forward to building the offense more and more in the coming weeks to make this Park team a dominant team.
"We have great players on this team and it shows with how we communicate on the field," Devaan said. "It's nice to see everyone taking shots at the goal tonight and hopefully it continues into next week."
Park will head to East Ridge for a crosstown rivalry game on Monday, April 22 at 7 p.m.
East Ridge 16, Tartan 3
East Ridge started off the season strong against Tartan as the Raptors won 16-3 on the road on Tuesday night.
The Raptors had even scoring in each quarter as they scored five goals in the first, three goals in the second, four goals in the third and four more goals in the fourth.
There were seven different players that scored at least one goal allowing a spread of people to score for East Ridge. Jack Mohler, Zach Beaubien and Peter Young each led the team with three goals each and creating the momentum for the rest of the team.
Isaac Edwards, Tyler Johnson and Noah Markus each scored two goals and Alex Fournier scored one goal as well.
Along with the offense, East Ridge's defense was really strong only allowing 12 shots on goal. It was an easier night for Thomas Miles as the Raptors defense made sure no Tartan attacker was taking a shot on goal.
East Ridge has a busy week still before the weekend approaches as the Raptors will host Eagan on Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m.
Then, the Raptors will host Benilde-St. Margaret's at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. Both of these home games are against big opponents as Eagan is ranked No. 5 and Benilde is ranked No. 3 in the MN Lacrosse Hub rankings.