Mahtomedi boys' lacrosse players felt appropriately concerned with facing defending champion Eagan on Tuesday in the state tournament quarterfinals.
"They are one of the best odd-man rush teams in the state," senior midfielder Josh Campbell said. "At the same time, we knew we had to play 6-on-6 and try to force mistakes."
The Zephyrs' approach produced a 12-10 victory at Chanhassen High School. Campbell scored a hat trick, and senior attackman Timmy Lindquist added four goals before being helped off the field because of a lower-body injury late in the fourth quarter.
Tension rose as No. 5 Mahtomedi (14-3) had its lead trimmed to 9-7 in the third quarter after four consecutive goals from No. 4 Eagan (11-4). Cole Powell scored twice during the run and Damien Schultz and Andrew Chvatal each added a goal.
"We were just trying to get the ball back and take a little of the air out of the game," Campbell said. "We struggled at first but played smarter in the fourth quarter."
The Wildcats drew close again late with two Joey Mills goals.
"Too little, too late," Eagan coach Bob Felter said. "Too many unforced errors."
Minnetonka 14, Wayzata 12: That wasn't some new style of lacrosse stick Minnetonka sophomore Max McGraw carried after his team's state tournament quarterfinal victory. It was a flagpole.
He unfurled the blue flag to display the Skippers' seasonlong mantra: "Don't give up the ship."
Steadfast play helped Minnetonka finish a game of runs. McGraw, who made key plays down the stretch, earned the flag as his team's most valuable player.
Wayzata (13-4) opened the final quarter with three consecutive goals for a 12-11 lead.
"That was a big test," McGraw said. "We needed to get the mentality that we were the better team."
Two McGraw goals and his assist on Jacob Dahl's goal put the Skippers ahead to stay.
The Lake Conference rivals split two close regular-season games.
"We knew we would have to fight and put our heart into it," said McGraw, who finished with three goals and two assists.
Wayzata coach Chad Herr said his team "made a few mistakes and Minnetonka took advantage."
No. 3 seed Minnetonka (15-2) advances to play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Chanhassen.
Prior Lake 13, Lakeville North 7: Two striking differences were at work Tuesday from when the Lakers squeaked by the Panthers 7-6 in the regular season.
First, No. 2 seed Prior Lake (15-2) had use of five midfielders who missed the first game because of injuries. Secondly, Lakeville North (11-6) did not play with the same sustained intensity.
The result: A 5-0 Prior Lake surge in the third quarter that gave the Lakers control.
"We had the depth and in the third quarter, we outran them," Prior Lake coach Chris Fleck said. "This team is built to be ready in June when you're playing on turf and it's hot."
Senior midfielder John Leffler scored two of his three goals in the third quarter and credited the "hype squad" on the Lakers' bench for supplying infectious energy.
Lakeville North, however, didn't generate the same kilowatts.
"The first time was a battle; this time it wasn't," Panthers coach Tony Ghilani said. "We let them run away in the third quarter. We started chipping away a little bit but as the game wore on, the effort turns into desperation."
Benilde-St. Margaret's 10, Centennial 4: Despite the final score, Benilde-St. Margaret's senior midfielder Quinn Ehlen was in no mood to gush.
"We didn't play our style," Ehlen said. "We started a little slow, and we weren't moving like we normally do. But we'll work on some things at practice [Wednesday]."
That attitude has kept the No. 1 seed Red Knights (16-0) undefeated all season. Of course, some of the reason they weren't at their best can be credited to Centennial's strong play. The Cougars entered the game on a six-game winning streak and were not intimidated.
"We knew Benilde would be a tough test because they can really move the ball and run and they've got the top goalie in the state," Cougars coach Jon Beach said. "But our defense and goalie stood on their head tonight."
The Red Knights, runner-up last season, led 7-3 after three quarters and never allowed the Cougars to threaten. Faceoff specialist Jack Budniewski won 13 of 17 draws to help keep the Red Knights in control.
"Maybe we rattled them a little bit but to their credit, they kept at it," Beach said.