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 - LP: D. Keuchel 0 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3
Cleveland - LP: C. Kluber 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: P. Hughes 4
Detroit - LP: D. Price 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 1
Arizona 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Washington 0
San Francisco - LP: R. Vogelsong 0 Suspended
Chicago Cubs - WP: T. Wada 2
Atlanta - J. Teheran 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - D. Holmberg
LA Angels - M. Shoemaker 6:10 PM
Boston - R. De La Rosa
San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:05 PM
Chicago Cubs - T. Wood
San Diego - T. Ross 9:10 PM
Los Angeles - C. Kershaw
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
ULM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Tulsa
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Vanderbilt
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
Indiana
San Antonio 8:00 PM
Minnesota

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How closely will you follow the Lynx in the WNBA playoffs?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close