Blake’s Lydia Sutton had just turned the ball over deep in the Eden Prairie end of the field. She was not pleased.
The Blake senior has a low tolerance for miscues. So as the play headed downfield toward the Bears goal, so did Sutton. Like a heat-seeking missile, she locked in on the Eagles player carrying the ball. Soon enough, she caught her. After swatting the ball loose and making a quick scoop, Sutton was back in possession and racing in the opposite direction.
“Yes, she is fast. Yes, she can score goals. Yes, she is pretty to watch play,” Blake coach Laura Mark said about Sutton, who has committed to play at Southern California. “But she is a kid who will dig deep. She will do the dirty work. She is not someone who is going to turn the ball over and say, ‘Oh darn.’ ”
Considered by some coaches to be the best girls’ lacrosse player in state history, Sutton sports a superb all-around game that has led to her selection as the Star Tribune girls’ lacrosse Metro Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. She also was named by the state girls’ coaches association as its Player of the Year for a second consecutive year. Sutton is the only player from the Midwest and first from Minnesota to be selected to play in the Under Armour All-America Lacrosse Classic all-star game July 13 in Baltimore.
“They are saying Minnesota is the new recruiting hotbed for girls’ lacrosse,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ana Bowlsby said. “And Lydia is a big reason.”
Bowlsby tried to limit Sutton’s effectiveness in the Section 6 championship game by assigning speedy sophomore Emily Schmitz to mirror Sutton’s every move. Schmitz might as well have been sharing Sutton’s socks the two were so close. When Sutton did get the ball, two more Red Knights instantly surrounded her. Sutton’s solution was to simply toss the ball to open teammates for a prime scoring chances.
“I think that as I’ve grown I’ve realized how big of an impact I can be on other girls and how I can help set them up to be star players in their future,” Sutton said. “I think that’s really something I’m proud of.”
Sutton has 39 goals and 23 assists this season despite missing two games and part of another because of what Mark described as a mild concussion.
Mark often uses Sutton, a midfielder, as a defender assigned to stop the opposition’s most dangerous players. Sutton’s outstanding speed and strength make her versatile enough to play any role from any position. She’s been a vital cog on a Bears team that has won four consecutive state championships and has qualified for the state tournament yet again.