Youth lacrosse team from Lakeville wins state
Team made up of players from North and South districts
Lakeville 5/6A won the Youth Lacrosse of Minnesota state championships last weekend by defeating Eagan 6-2 at Eden Prairie.
Entering the tournament with the No. 3 seed after going 8-1-1 during the season, the Lakeville boys defeated No. 14 Bloomington, No. 6 Woodbury and No. 2 Mahtomedi leading up to the finals.
The team members live in both Lakeville North and South districts, so the uniform reflects the dual nature of their allegiances. The jerseys are red, white and gold for South, and the shorts are red and black for North. The shorts also include a Cougar paw on one leg and the Panther scratch mark on the other, along with a compass highlighting both North and South.
Two other Lakeville teams participated in the state tournament. Lakeville 7/8A upset No. 2 ranked Rosemount in the first round but lost to eventual state runner-up Eden Prairie in the quarterfinals. Lakeville 7/8B went 2-1 in pool play and lost in bracket play.
For a sport that’s still relatively new in Minnesota – it was added as a high school varsity sport in 2007 – most of the fifth- and sixth-graders grew up with the sport. A strong youth program has helped make the varsity teams at the high school level competitive in the South Suburban Conference.
“I was really proud of the boys and the way they dedicated themselves to the team,” co-head coach Shawn Knuth said. “In my eyes, what is even better than a state championship is the amount these boys learned about the game and how to play it,”
Former varsity player from Lakeville South Josh Schwartz is helping complete the circle as a co-head coach with Knuth. Schwartz plays collegiate lacrosse for Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania.
“His knowledge really gave the boys the skills and the ability,” Knuth said. “Besides being the most skilled team I’ve ever had, they were also the most intelligent.”
Lakeville has one of the largest youth lacrosse associations in Minnesota, providing boys and girls ranging from grades three to eight, the opportunity to play lacrosse every spring and summer. The Lakeville Lacrosse Association welcomes players at any skill level and provides developmental opportunities to learn the sport, interact with experienced players as well as connect with the high school programs. More information can be found at www.lakevillelacrosse.org.