Blaze lacrosse hope to recapture 2011 postseason magic
New head coach, one returning starter opens up many positions
Last season was one for the record books for the Burnsville boys lacrosse team.
After placing fourth in the South Suburban Conference behind Eastview, Eagan and Rosemount, the Blaze went on to win the Section 3 title and finish third at state.
But it’s a distant memory for a team that lost the majority of its starters to graduation, including Jace Childs, Scott Wheeler, Colin Schroeder, Neil Pester and Dylan Delaney.
“Whenever you have to replace a majority of your starters from last season it causes a little concern, but we have had some players really step it up this season and fill those shoes,” head coach Michael McGinn said.
Just one starter remains in Kyle Peresic, one of the top goalies in the state, as the team’s defensive leader.
Seniors joining Peresic include Michael Callahan, Kyle Kappel, Dyllon Dunsworth and Jake Senta, who provide a healthy dose of talent at the midfield and attacker positions.
“We have some great captains who have really started to motivate the guys to work harder each day,” McGinn said. “Their leadership capabilities have really started to rub off on the younger players as well. Each day we see guys working together and pushing each other.”
McGinn is also looking to younger players Blake Gillund (attack), Dan Ames (midfield) and Nate Bowman (defense) to help fill the gaps.
“Nothing this season is going to come easy for us, so we need to work hard every day on and off the lacrosse field,” McGinn said. “Our main goal is to outrun and outplay every team we come across this season.”
McGinn knows a thing or two about getting to the state tournament. He’s been with two different teams that have qualified for state four times.
Although this is his first year as head coach of the Blaze, McGinn isn’t a stranger to the lacrosse scene in the south metro. He was an assistant and varsity coach at Eastview for four seasons and last year he assisted the Blaze.
Eagan, Eastview, Burnsville and Rosemount have all had their moments to shine in recent seasons. McGinn expects it to be the same in 2012.
“This season I think our section and conference is probably the toughest it has ever been,” McGinn said. “There are a lot of strong teams out there this season and it would be too hard to pick the favorite, but I do think our team is definitely in the mix this season.”