Eden Prairie trailed 12-2 at halftime. Eden Prairie was down on the scoreboard in running time for much of the second half May 6 at Storm Stadium in Chanhassen.
Yes, Eden Prairie. A program that had won all 13 Section 2 titles since lacrosse became a Minnesota State High School League sponsored sport in 2007. The Eagles have won five state championships along the way, missing the title game just one time in 13 years in 2013.
On June 9, advancing to the section championship with a 16-14 win over second-seeded Minnetonka, Eden Prairie was a different team than the one that top-seeded Chanhassen saw a month before.
The Eagles were aggressive. They were strong defensively, making the Storm work for good looks. And they were determined to not let the streak of section championships end.
Eden Prairie, trailing 11-7 with 17 minutes, eight seconds remaining, outscored fifth-ranked Chanhassen 7-2 down the stretch, including the winner from Kaci Kotschevar-Call with 1:13 left in regulation.
It was the second section championship appearance for the Storm, which were defeated 14-9 by Eden Prairie in 2019. Chanhassen finishes the season with a 13-3 record.
Draw controls were an area Eden Prairie dominated. Same with time of possession. With the ball, the Eagles were patient, getting goals from seven different shooters including Josie Lillquist with a team-high four tallies and two assists.
A once four-goal advantage shrunk quickly. Back-to-back goals from Taylor Kotschevar-Call and Brinley Hopper, 20 seconds apart, tied the game at 12 with under five minutes to play.
Chanhassen, unable to gain the draw, was left hoping for a turnover. While senior captain goaltender Kaylyn Cater came up big on numerous attempts, making nine saves in the second half, the Storm were unable to gain control and Eden Prairie took the lead at 13-12 from Hopper with 3:10 left.
The best player on the field was Chanhassen's Leah Hodgins, who took over the game with three goals to begin the second half, extending an 8-7 halftime lead to 11-7.
Hodgins, out of the line-up the last three games with a foot injury, was inserted into the contest after a slow start in the first half for Chanhassen. Her impact was felt, tallying five goals and two assists. Her draw control led to a tying goal from Gabby Bjugan with 3:02 remaining at 13-13.
Chanhassen was up 11-7 when Hodgins exited the field to rest, and a breather.
Hopper (three goals), and Taylor and Kali Kotschevar-Call (two goals, assist) led the Eagles offense with Lillquist.
Bjugan (three goals), Bella Detienne (three goals, two assists), Bethany Velasco (goal), and Allie Welder (goal) were other scoring leaders for Chanhassen, which was outshot 23-20 for the game.