Prior Lake spoils Eastview boys’ bid for perfect season
If Eastview vs. Prior Lake was a best-of-seven series, maybe the outcome would have been different, Lightning coach Tim Roche said. But it was best of one, and that left Eastview on the sideline when the state boys lacrosse tournament started this week.
Trailing by two early in the fourth quarter, Prior Lake scored the final three goals of the game to topple No. 1-ranked Eastview 6-5 in the Section 6 championship game June 8 at Burnsville High School. The Lakers earned the right to return to the state tournament, where they are defending champions.
It was a bitter conclusion for Eastview, a senior-dominated team that set a goal of going undefeated and winning the program’s second state championship (the other was in 2012). Eastview won its first 15 games before losing in the section final.
“I think if we played them multiple times, we’d have the upper hand the majority of the time,” said Roche, whose team defeated Prior Lake 10-5 during the regular season. “But, Prior Lake played a great game. They put all-out, constant pressure on our guys. They never gave us a chance to relax.”
Eastview led 3-1 early in the third quarter and 5-3 early in the fourth but couldn’t put away the Lakers.
“Their goalie (Tyler Wiederhoeft) made a big save when we were up 5-3,” Roche said. “If we score there, the game’s probably ours. Same thing when it was 3-1. If it gets to 4-1, it’s probably tough for them to come back. But we couldn’t get that three-goal lead.”
Prior Lake sophomore midfielder Luke Bloedow scored with 6 minutes, 21 seconds remaining to tie the game 5-5, and also scored the go-ahead goal with 3:04 remaining. Eastview had possession in the final minute with a chance to tie the game but lost the ball and couldn’t get it back before time ran out.
Senior attackman Noah Joseph had two goals and an assist for Eastview. Noah Lindner, Jack Peeters and Jason Hill also scored.
Lindner, who led Eastview with 43 goals and 21 assists, is one of the finalists for the Mr. Lacrosse Award, which will be presented at a banquet Sunday in St. Louis Park. Lightning goalie Jackson Beran is a finalist for the Mr. Goalie Award, which also will be announced at Sunday’s banquet.
Although Eastview was building for a state championship run this year, the Lightning doesn’t expect to take a step back in 2018. Junior midfielder Joe Stillings and junior defender Porter Awad, two of Eastview’s top players this season, will be back next year. Hill, a freshman attackman, is likely to have an even bigger role in the offense. There also are players in the pipeline from a junior varsity team and two ninth/10th-grade teams that had successful seasons, Roche said.
“Our goals won’t change,” the coach said.
Section 6 girls
Prior Lake 12, Apple Valley 9
Prior Lake stopped Apple Valley one victory short of the state girls lacrosse tournament for the second consecutive year, defeating the Eagles 12-9 in the Section 6 final June 8 in Burnsville.
The Eagles finished 14-2, with both losses to Prior Lake.
Apple Valley never led in the section final, but was within 4-3 midway through the first half. Prior Lake then scored seven consecutive goals before halftime, putting the game out of the Eagles’ reach.
The Eagles didn’t stop trying to get back in it, though. Picking up the pace and going with an all-out attack because they had nothing to lose, they outscored Prior Lake 6-1 in the second half. But the final margin of three goals was as close as they could get.
Junior midfielders Reagan Roelofs and Molly Moynihan produced the majority of Apple Valley’s offense in the section final. Roelofs had five goals and one assist. Moynihan scored three goals. Tavia Reinertson also scored for the Eagles.
A junior-dominated Eagles roster will be able to take at least one more shot at going to the state tournament next year. This year’s roster had only two seniors, midfielder Claire Niederer and goalie Ellie Kuchera.
Contact Mike Shaughnessy at [email protected]