The Irondale girls’ lacrosse team is off to the best start in program history, thanks in part to midfielder Maddie Hentges.
The sophomore has tallied 17 goals and 16 assists this season, helping the Knights to an 8-1 record as of Monday.
Hentges and senior midfielders Samantha Donovan and Alex Toupal have scored 80 of Irondale’s 120 goals this season. The three played hockey together and helped the Knights reach the Class 2A, Section 5 semifinals. They also played on the varsity soccer team.
“They have the chemistry together,” first-year lacrosse coach Wendy Frantz said. “They can always find each other on the field or on the ice, but that’s not to say that they don’t pass to other people.”
Hentges talked with University of Minnesota student reporter Nate Gotlieb last week about the lacrosse team’s success this season and her relationship with Toupal and Donovan.
Q: Why has your team been so successful under coach Frantz?
A: She just makes us work really hard and ... pushes us to make us do our best every day.
Q: This year you’re averaging about two goals per game. What’s been the key to your success?
A: My teammates, obviously, they just pass me the ball, and our great defense and goalie, Rebekah Sinn, our new goalie, she’s really good, too, this year. She stops a lot of goals and passes the ball up to me.
Q: What’s it like to play lacrosse with so many of your hockey teammates?
A: We have really good chemistry, so it’s really nice. I can just tell where they are on the field, and we can pass the ball, and I can just trust them really well, especially Samantha Donovan and Alex Toupal.
Q: What’s it like to play with Donovan and Toupal?
A: It’s a really cool experience, because I know they’re going to play college hockey next year [Donovan is going to Brown and Toupal to Amherst College] and they’re really good athletes. So they just push me ... to try my best every day.
Q: What’s it going to be like next year without them?
A: It’s going to be really different, but it’s going to be a learning experience, and some of our younger girls will have to step up to the plate. But I think it will be a good experience.
Q: Donovan is approaching 50 goals this season. Why has she been so successful?
A: She’s the hardest worker I’ve ever met, and she just has never had a bad game.
Q: What’s the team’s goal for the rest of the season?
A: Ultimately we just want to win sections and make it to state, ’cause this year we have the best record in Irondale history for girls’ lacrosse. So it’s an honor to be part of this team.
Q: What did your team learn from the loss to Breck earlier this season?
A: We just have to try our best every game and work as a team.
Q: Your team will play perennial power Benilde-St. Margaret’s on May 20. How will your mind-set against them be different this year?
A: We just don’t have to be scared going into it, and we just have to be confident and know that we can beat them and just work hard.