Fielding one player with 50-plus points would please most girls’ lacrosse coaches.
Eden Prairie co-head coaches Judy Baxter and Beth Patterson enjoy the benefit of five. Consequently, the defending state champion Eagles took off with 59 goals in their first three games and haven’t slowed down since.
“Our offense has been feeling it this year,” Eagles senior captain forward Sara Woodring said.
Woodring keeps close to the net often, looking to spark the offense. She leads the team with 92 points from her 50 assists and 42 goals.
“She puts the ball where it needs to be, so that her teammates can be successful,” Patterson said.
Fellow senior captain Kelly Wolfe likewise creates opportunities with 45 assists, second on the team. Wolfe also gets her share of goals with 24.
Overall, Eden Prairie’s offense revved up this year from 17.7 goals per game in 2015 to 18.7 as of the Section 2 semifinals. The Eagles (14-1) produced their sixth 20-goal performance in that game, a 20-5 rout of Holy Family on Monday.
Eden Prairie then blew out Minnetonka 17-4 for the section championship on Wednesday. The Eagles have a sparkling 15-0 record against Minnesota squads thus far. Only eight-time reigning Illinois state champion Loyola defeated the Eagles 20-11 on May 14.
“We learned a lot of stuff about having to keep fighting no matter what the score was and having to make sure our defense was there because we didn’t have as much offense,” Eagles junior midfielder Naomi Rogge said.
Rogge, also a member of the Eagles’ Class 2A girls’ hockey state championship squad, took her lacrosse game to a new level this spring. She scored 46 goals and assisted on 15, a leap from 23 points last year.
Sammie Morton had 63 goals, up from 36 in 2015. The junior forward and Division I Denver recruit also assisted on 13 goals this year.
Freshman midfielder Brooke Lewis’ production skyrocketed, too. She scored 50 goals and assisted on 13 after limited minutes as an eighth-grader. Similarly, fellow freshman midfielder Kacie Riggs stepped up with 27 goals and eight assists in her second year.
“I don’t think we’re lacking anywhere on offense,” Woodring said.
She could say the same for the defense too, which allows 5.6 goals per game. Junior midfielder and Ohio State recruit Hannah Brink anchors that unit by keying in on the opponents’ top scorer.
“Most of our offense feeds off of how our defense does,” Brink said. “When we make defensive stops, we really transition into the offense.”
Then comes the Eagles’ pin-point passing, which can spill over to penalty shots, too. It did against Orono, when Wolfe found an open teammate for a penalty shot goal.
“All three of the coaches, we looked at one another and said, ‘that was really unselfish,’ ” Patterson said.
Eden Prairie dominated Orono 20-1 in the section quarterfinals on June 2. The Eagles won by 10 or more goals for the 12th time.
No Minnesota team except Blake has stayed within 10 of the Eagles, who rallied from a 7-3 deficit and broke a late 14-14 tie to hold off the Bears 16-14 on May 27.
“We for sure knew that we were capable of coming back,” Morton said. “It’s just that we had to get in that ‘we can do it’ mentality kind of and having that grit and having that drive to get those goals.”
That mentality keeps the Eagles flying toward their ultimate goal of a state title.