That old rallying cry from state tournament newcomers about not being satisfied just making the dance? The Prior Lake boys' lacrosse team proved its big dreams are sincere.
The upstart Lakers overcame a halftime deficit against state tournament stalwart Eden Prairie and finished strong in a 9-7 victory.
Junior Carter Collins scored his fifth goal of Thursday's state tournament semifinal at Chanhassen High School, this one with 36.1 seconds left, to leave no doubt. The No. 2 seed Lakers (14-4) advance to play No. 1 seed Lakeville North (16-2) in the championship game at 6 p.m. Saturday. It's also the Panthers' first title game.
"We made history already by going to state and we weren't going to stop there," Collins said.
First, Prior Lake needed to regroup. In the first half, players didn't run called plays or move the ball at times.
Meanwhile, No. 3 seed Eden Prairie (12-6) got hot. Junior Connor Olson scored three quick goals and the Eagles' led 5-3 at halftime.
Eden Prairie coach Ryan Ward credited Prior Lake for taking over in the third quarter. Three unanswered goals — two from Collins — restored a 6-5 edge.
"He wants the ball on his stick and he's not going to quit," Prior Lake coach Chris Fleck said. "Our track coaches want him because he's the fastest kid in our school."
Eden Prairie's Eric Friswold tied the game 6-6 in the fourth quarter but goals from Collins and Matt Denman put Prior Lake ahead to stay.
Lakeville North 13, Wayzata 6: The upset-minded Trojans (10-8) scored first but the top-seeded Panthers countered with six consecutive goals before halftime. The Panthers needed a big second-half to escape Eagan in the quarterfinals and didn't wish to repeat the formula.
Max Johnson and Calvin Dahl each posted hat tricks as Lakeville North defeated No. 5 seed Wayzata for the second time this season.
"[Wednesday's] game was a flaw in our play but we proved it here," Johnson said.
Leading 8-3 at halftime, few adjustments were necessary, Johnson said. "We knew we were getting a lot of shots so we wanted to keep the pressure on."
The third quarter saw the Panthers score three additional goals. Wayzata battled, holding the score closer than its 20-8 loss on May 7.
"We've got 14 sophomores and freshmen on this team and I thought today they handled the pressure a lot better than the first time we played," Trojans coach Chad Herr said. "Lakeville North is a real good team, big and strong.
Though Herr was describing the Panthers' physical attributes, strong also applies to their bond. A preseason team building trip to Camp Ripley brought Lakeville North players closer.
"We have a real good-hearted team that's all about lacrosse," Johnson said.