The Lakeville South girls’ lacrosse team hopes last season serves as a learning experience.
The Cougars have opened the year with back-to-back victories, extending their regular-season winning streak to 14 games. Their last regular-season setback was to Rosemount on May 15, 2012.
Lakeville South completed the regular season 11-0 a year ago. It lost in the Section 1 final to Lakeville North 12-7 — a team it had defeated two weeks earlier in the regular-season finale.
“I am very happy with our first two games so far this season,” Cougars coach Patrick Crandall said. “We knew that we would have a challenge transitioning from last year to this year with the loss of an all-American player and two other all-state players from our 12-1 season.
“However, I knew that we had a great young nucleus from that season and they were driven and highly motivated to make this year just an extension of our previous year.”
Midfielder Brooke Galle, the Cougars’ lone starting senior, leads the team with eight goals. Junior Logan Halvorson has six goals and fellow junior Madeline Canney has five.
“We knew that we would have continued success with our offensive sets, but would have to rely on some new talent on defense,” Crandall said. “Our biggest focus for this year was to improve our defensive efforts and really transform this team to adopt a strong defensive philosophy.”
Junior goalkeeper Kelsey Olsen has allowed nine goals while making 17 saves in the two games.
“I expect us to continue to improve and hopefully have some success if we put our best efforts out there every game,” Crandall said. “We really have thrown a lot at these girls in the last four years — some of my juniors now have been in the program since eighth grade — and they continue to amaze me with their willingness to improve.”
Top swimmer honored
Lakeville South senior Mitch Herrera was honored for his outstanding swimming season this past winter. Herrera was named the Class 2A male athlete of the year at the coaches association all-state banquet in Oakdale.
Herrera capped his career season by winning the 200- and 500-yard freestyle events at the state meet. He was the meet’s only double winner.
Herrera, who carries a 4.16 grade-point average, is headed for Columbia University next fall.
• Senior Freddy Thomas shot a 1-under-par 72, leading Lakeville North to the boys’ team title in the opening South Suburban Conference golf meet of the season at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington. The Panthers won the meet by 14 strokes.
• Prior Lake senior Kara Lattery hit for the cycle, leading the Lakers softball team to a 16-0 victory over Bloomington Kennedy in South Suburban Conference play. She drove in five runs and scored three times.