Defense leads the charge for Champlin Park boys' lacrosse

  • Article by: NATE GOTLIEB , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 22, 2014 - 8:20 PM

Champlin Park will rely on a veteran corps of defenders to anchor the boys’ lacrosse team.

hide

Defenseman Cole Groebner is part of a Champlin Park group that last season allowed the second-fewest goals per game in the state.

Photo: Photos by MARLIN LEVISON • mlevison@startribune.com,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

The Champlin Park boys’ lacrosse team will rely on its defense to start the season, after losing arguably its best offensive player to graduation.

The Rebels are without Mr. Lacrosse finalist Ryan McNeil, who tallied 97 points last season. McNeil led Champlin Park to a 15-3 record and a third-place finish at state.

“He was always a great leader, always pushing everyone to their limits, making sure they were doing their best,” senior goalie Bryce Plunkett said. “He just helped motivate the team to success.”

Plunkett is part of a veteran defensive unit that will anchor the Rebels. He and senior defensemen Evan Schraut, Cole Groebner and Matt Steenerson lead a defense that last season allowed the second-fewest goals per game in the state.

Plunkett has played on varsity since ninth grade and posted the third-best save percentage in the state last season. He has quick hands, fast reflexes and serves as the quarterback of the defense, assistant coach Chaun Klemetsrud said.

“He’s always talking. He’s always letting the guys know where the ball is,” Klemestrud said. “Just having that voice back there definitely calms a lot of the six other guys in front of him.”

Schraut, Groebner and Steenerson also have played a key role in the team’s defensive success. The trio first played together since middle school and has started on varsity together since 2012.

“Playing with each other for a while now, we kind of just know, like, what’s going on out there,” Groebner said, adding that they know each other’s tendencies. “We communicate a lot, too.”

Klemetsrud, the team’s defensive coordinator, said the secret to the unit’s success is its ability to pick up loose balls — known in lacrosse as ground balls — and communication.

Steenerson said the defensemen have talked about taking more shots on goal this season and pushing the pace of the offense. He noted the team has a group of up-and-coming offensive players who have looked strong in practices and scrimmages.

That group includes junior midfielder Mario Baregi and sophomore attacker Brody Sturm. Overall, the young guys are inexperienced, Steenerson said, “but they’re very strong. They’re getting the experience in these scrimmages, and they’re starting to click, and it’s really cool to see.”

Senior midfielder Luke Dalman also appeared optimistic that the team’s young players will continue to progress, though he noted that they probably won’t provide as much firepower as McNeil right away.

“You can’t ask, you know, to have a younger sophomore attack man or a younger middie [midfielder] to … score seven goals or get seven points like Ryan did,” Dalman said. “The biggest thing is to just kind of be in the right place and … do what they can do to help out the team.”

Dalman scored 29 goals last season, good for third on the team. He and senior attacker Max Turgeon, who scored 30 goals last season, are the team’s top offensive returners.

Klemestrud said Turgeon makes the defense better because he has a knack for finding open space. He said Dalman is physical and can get to an opponent’s net at will.

Turgeon, Dalman and the offense face a tough challenge to start the season. The Rebels play state runner-up Eastview on Saturday and defending Northwest Suburban Conference champion Blaine on Monday.

While the defensive players recognize it could take time for the offense to produce at a high level, they don’t appear too concerned.

  • related content

  • Goalie Bryce Plunkett has been a varsity player since eighth grade and posted the third-best save percentage in the state last season.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Houston 0 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 1
Washington 7 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 8
Miami 4 Bottom 5th Inning
Boston 2
Minnesota 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Tampa Bay 1
NY Yankees 3 Bottom 4th Inning
Philadelphia 0
Baltimore 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Toronto 0
Detroit 3 Top 6th Inning
NY Mets 1
Cincinnati 2:05 PM
Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles 2:05 PM
Milwaukee
San Francisco 2:05 PM
Texas
Chicago WSox 2:05 PM
San Diego
Kansas City 2:05 PM
Cleveland
Seattle 2:05 PM
Los Angeles
Colorado 2:10 PM
LA Angels
Oakland 2:10 PM
Arizona
Pittsburgh 6:05 PM
NY Yankees
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Orlando
Utah 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Miami 6:00 PM
Washington
Toronto 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Cleveland 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Boston 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Detroit 7:00 PM
Houston
LA Lakers 7:00 PM
Memphis
Phoenix 7:00 PM
Brooklyn
Denver 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Minnesota 6:00 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 6:30 PM
Detroit
Edmonton 7:30 PM
Chicago
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Anaheim
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 2nd Half 0:27
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 12 1st Half 10:39
Radford 12
Evansville 2:35 PM
Illinois State
Towson 5:00 PM
Elon
Gardner-Webb 5:00 PM
High Point
Samford 5:00 PM
UNC Greensboro
Northern Ill 6:00 PM
Ball State
Bowling Green 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Brown 6:00 PM
Dartmouth
Toledo 6:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Akron 6:00 PM
Kent State
Ill-Chicago 6:00 PM
Oakland
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
Ohio
Columbia 6:00 PM
Penn
Cornell 6:00 PM
Princeton
Central Mich 6:00 PM
Western Mich
Bradley 6:05 PM
Northern Iowa
Morehead State 6:30 PM
Murray State
UNC-Asheville 7:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
Yale 7:00 PM
Harvard
Furman 7:30 PM
Citadel
Coll of Charleston 7:30 PM
Drexel
Texas Tech 8:00 PM
Baylor
Pacific 8:00 PM
San Francisco
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Belmont 8:30 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 42 2nd Half 6:27
East Tenn St 48
Richmond 22 2nd Half 19:35
Fordham 20
Miami-Florida 25 2nd Half 18:19
(2) Notre Dame 39
Siena 21 1st Half 4:00
Iona 24
Washington St 7 1st Half 7:54
(9) Arizona State 11
Ark-Pine Bluff 27 1st Half 2:47
Miss Valley St 24
(23) Rutgers 1:55 PM
(24) Northwestern
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
SIU-Edwardsville
Loyola Marymount 2 1st Half 18:37
Gonzaga 3
(18) Texas A&M 2:25 PM
LSU
Cincinnati 3:00 PM
UCF
Saint Josephs 3:30 PM
Dayton
UCLA 4:00 PM
(19) Stanford
Santa Clara 4:30 PM
San Diego
Virginia Tech 5:00 PM
(7) Florida State
SMU 5:00 PM
Memphis
Lehigh 5:05 PM
Holy Cross
Rhode Island 6:00 PM
Duquesne
North Florida 6:00 PM
(20) Fla Gulf Coast
Kennesaw St 6:00 PM
Jacksonville
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Lipscomb 6:00 PM
Stetson
Nebraska 6:00 PM
(14) Iowa
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Marist
Navy 6:00 PM
Bucknell
Lafayette 6:00 PM
American Univ
Colgate 6:00 PM
Army
Georgia 6:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Dartmouth 6:00 PM
Brown
Penn 6:00 PM
Columbia
(13) Princeton 6:00 PM
Cornell
Kansas 6:00 PM
Kansas State
Harvard 6:00 PM
Yale
(15) North Carolina 7:00 PM
(10) Louisville
San Jose St 7:00 PM
UNLV
Houston 7:00 PM
Tulane
Utah State 8:00 PM
Colorado State
Colorado 8:00 PM
(8) Oregon State
New Mexico 8:00 PM
Wyoming
Minnesota 8:25 PM
Ohio State
(12) Kentucky 8:25 PM
(11) Miss State
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Nevada
Niagara 8:30 PM
Fairfield
Texas Tech 8:30 PM
West Virginia
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
California

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question

Countdown to great deals

Bid March 15-23

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

    ADVERTISEMENT

     
    Close