Girls lacrosse: chasing the Lakers

Apple Valley, Lakeville South are in preseason top 10

Ellie Lauderdale is one of the Lakeville South girls lacrosse team's top returning players. Photo by Jim Lindquist/sidekick.smugmug.com
Ellie Lauderdale is one of the Lakeville South girls lacrosse team’s top returning players. Photo by Jim Lindquist/sidekick.smugmug.com

Prior Lake won the South Suburban Conference girls lacrosse championship last year and, at least according to the state coaches association’s preseason rankings, remains the team to beat.

The Lakers were No. 4 in the preseason poll. Which SSC teams have the best shot of dethroning the Lakers? Sixth-ranked Apple Valley and No. 9 Lakeville South, for starters. Several other teams have high hopes, too. Here’s a look at the eight SSC teams from Dakota County:

Apple Valley

Coach: Alexandra Ross.

Last season: 14-2, reached Section 6 championship game.

2017 so far: defeated Shakopee 21-5 on Tuesday.

Upcoming: home against Holy Angels at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, at Edina at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: Both of Apple Valley’s losses last season were to Prior Lake, and the second kept the Eagles out of the state tournament. Although they have only two seniors on the roster, there’s plenty of experience. Five of last year’s top six scorers return, including midfielders Reagan Roelofs and Molly Moynihan. One of the seniors, Ellie Kuchera, returns in goal.

Burnsville

Coach: Emily Shreeve.

Last season: 3-11 overall, lost in first round of Section 3 playoffs.

2017 so far: 1-1 following a 15-13 victory over Shattuck-St. Mary’s on Tuesday.

Upcoming: home against Prior Lake at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 25.

Outlook: The Blaze will try to climb back into contention in the South Suburban with a young roster (five seniors). Junior goalie Maddie Lee made 15 saves in a 12-7 loss to Bloomington Jefferson last week. Junior midfielder Kenzie Schroeder had two goals, and Jenna Hartung had a goal and two assists.

Eagan

Coach: Lauren Grotkin.

Last season: 12-4 overall, reached Section 3 championship game.

2017 so far: 1-0 after defeating Park of Cottage Grove 14-13 in overtime on Tuesday.

Upcoming: at East Ridge at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Outlook: The challenge will be building on Eagan’s best season since becoming an independent program (until a few years ago, the Wildcats were in a co-op with Rosemount). Juniors Molly Busch, Lauren Funk, Sara McNicoll and Kelly Coyne return; they were four of the Wildcats’ top six scorers last season.

Eastview

Coach: Kate Leavell.

Last season: 4-11 overall, lost in first round of Section 6 playoffs.

2017 so far: 0-1 after losing to Benilde-St. Margaret’s 13-5 on Tuesday.

Upcoming: home against Minneapolis at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: Leavell, a former Lakeville North coach, is in her first season with the Lightning. The roster includes a number of players who were on Eastview’s state-qualifying girls hockey team, including Allie Tuccitto, Ally Hodgen, Holly Sodomka, Mary Keating and Kaitlyn Pellicci.

Farmington

Coach: Stephanie Lavictoire.

Last season: 11-6 overall, reached Section 1 championship game.

2017 so far: 2-0 after defeating Rochester Century 23-0 on Monday.

Upcoming: at Stillwater at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Outlook: The Tigers had little trouble putting away potential Section 1 opponents Owatonna and Rochester Century in their first two games. The roadblock is Lakeville South, which defeated Farmington in last year’s section final and returns another strong team. Senior midfielder Ashley Steffes, an All-State player and Butler University commit, will be a force for Farmington. Carly Simon returns in goal. Seniors Kamryn Corraro and Ashley Hessler are back at midfield and forward. Junior Mikala Revels is a returning forward.

Lakeville North

Coach: Jeff Fisher.

Last season: 5-10 overall, reached Section 1 semifinals.

2017 so far: defeated Bloomington Jefferson 13-11 in season opener Tuesday.

Upcoming: home against Mahtomedi at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Outlook: The Panthers defeated Jefferson in Fisher’s debut as head coach. Returnees include senior defender Emma Hadacek. senior forward Lauren Lieser and sophomore midfielder Kathryn Kossack. Olivia Mattis and Chloe Fisher both reached double figures in goals last season as eighth-graders.

Lakeville South

Coach: Patrick Crandall.

Last season: 14-5 overall, won Section 1 championship, finished fifth in state tournament.

2017 so far: 1-1 after defeating Owatonna 17-3 on Tuesday.

Upcoming: at Wayzata at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: The Cougars, who have been to the state tournament the last three years, remain the favorites in Section 1. Captains Abby Schaefer and Ellie Lauderdale are two of the team’s best offensive players. Two more captains, Halle Gill and Emily Ziemkowski, will help anchor the midfield and defense. Also back is starting goalie Amanda Ziemkowski. Schaefer had seven goals and Sam Duncan four in the victory over Owatonna.

Rosemount

Coach: Jeff Smith.

Last season: 6-8 overall, lost in first round of Section 3 playoffs.

2017 so far: 1-0 after defeating Park of Cottage Grove 11-6 on
April 13.

Upcoming: home against Woodbury at 7 p.m. Thursday and Visitation/SPA at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Outlook: Senior captain Maggie Moeller scored 44 goals last season. She shares leadership duties with senior defenders Alannah Rapp and Ayla Pavelka. The fourth captain, junior Emily Huntley, is the Irish’s starting goalie.