Eagan boys lacrosse team makes strong statement
Wildcats beat two-time defending state champ
Benilde-St. Margaret’s has won the last two state high school boys lacrosse championships, and there is no shortage of contenders to the Red Knights’ throne.
One of those teams walked on to the Red Knights’ field last weekend and did something nobody had done for almost two years – beat them.
“This kind of sets the tone for our season,” Eagan midfielder Scott Pescheret said following the Wildcats’ 10-9 victory at BSM on April 14. “We know we’re a good program. We thought we had the ability to win this game, but it means a lot to go out and do it.”
The Eagan victory broke BSM’s 24-game winning streak dating to the 2010 season. At the same time, the Wildcats were careful not to attach too much significance to their second game of the season.
“We’re trying not to peak in April. We have a lot of tough games left,” Eagan coach Bob Felter said. “But this was a great game. The kids were really good.”
With the Wildcats likely to have to go through Eastview and Rosemount – and perhaps others – to get to the state tournament this spring, they needed to put in the time in the off-season. Pescheret said they did that, usually as a group.
Eagan had plenty of returnees from a team that went 13-3 in 2011 and reached the Section 3 championship game. Felter said he already knows the players had good skill, so he decided to test their commitment. One of the first activities when practice started in late March was a 2-mile run.
Felter said he wasn’t going to cut anybody who didn’t finish in the prescribed time, and it proved not to be a problem.
“It was a bit of a surprise, but it was a good way to start the season,” Pescheret said of the fitness test. “We were all in good shape.”
The Wildcats return four players who scored more than 20 goals last season – Pescheret, senior attackman Dan Bausman, junior attackman Connor Simpson and junior midfielder Cullen Willox. Pescheret, an All-State player last season, also is Eagan’s faceoff specialist. Sophomore midfielder Max Eisenheimer is a rising star; he had 16 goals last season and scored twice in last weekend’s victory at Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
Simpson, Eisenheimer and junior attackman Mike Kukulski had hat tricks against BSM.
Senior Calvin Lamb, who has signed to play lacrosse at St. Leo University in Florida, leads the Eagan defense. Seniors Nick Holmin, Mitch Chrastil, Cody Grovenstein, Zack Block and junior Andrew Markland also return on defense. Goalies Lucas Petersen and Luke Westrum are returning goalies.
Felter describes himself as an offense-oriented coach, but said defense will be a strength of this year’s Eagan team. A key point in the BSM game occurred when the Wildcats killed a 2-minute non-releasable penalty in the third quarter, then scored four consecutive goals to turn a 5-4 deficit into an 8-5 lead.
“That was something, wasn’t it?” Felter said. “I love my defense.”
Eagan routed Totino-Grace 13-2 in its season opener. The Wildcats played Apple Valley on April 19 and will play host to Burnsville in a rematch of last year’s Section 3 championship game at 7:30 p.m. Monday.