Chan Lacrosse - Senior Defense

Chanhassen seniors, from left, Maia Hodgins, Shea Kerry and Lauren Armani, are all fourth-year varsity defenders.

The final score wrote Eden Prairie 16, Chanhassen 9. A big difference between No. 1 and No. 3 girls lacrosse teams in the state of Minnesota.

Is it though?

The game was tied at seven early in the second half before the Eagles reeled off four straight goals, pulling away in the April 30 game.

With Eden Prairie and Chanhassen the top two seeds in Section 2, which begins with pigtail matches May 28, the Storm in play beginning May 30 with the winner of Delano/Rockford and Mound-Westonka, a rematch could loom with the Eagles.

"It was an exciting, fun match to play. We learned so much from that game. I think we all were a bit nervous going in, but once we got on the field it was such a competitive game," Chanhassen senior captain Lauren Armani said.

"If we do face them again at sections I think it was good to see them beforehand to see how they play, know what we have to do differently," Chanhassen senior Maia Hodgins said.

If Chanhassen is to reverse the score, advance to state for the first time in program history, three seniors know where it will need to come from.

Defense.

"Defense is definitely huge. Communication, knowing what we have to do against a really competitive team when we play them. I think we better understand that now," Chanhassen senior captain Shea Kerry said.

Experience is on the side of the Storm on the back end of the field. Kerry, along with Hodgins and Armani, all have been on the varsity team since ninth grade.

"I remember as a freshman, I was this scrawny little thing. Over the years of playing I really feel like I've built up my confidence, everything comes easier to me. There's nothing better than bodying up a girl, moving your feet, not letting them get by you," Hodgins said.

All have played significant roles in 25 wins in the last 27 contests. The lone defeats coming against Minnetonka in the 2018 playoffs and Eden Prairie in the 2019 regular season, the lone blemish on the schedule.

The 11th Chanhassen win came against Chaska 16-3 on May 23 behind hat tricks from Sydnie Soto and Elle Wagner.

Payton Schultz, Elise Pritchard and Kennedy Sanders found the net for the Hawks with goaltender Megan Jirele making a career-high 20 saves.

The 12th Chanhassen win came against Bloomington Kennedy 18-1 on May 24, a fourth consecutive Metro West Conference title-clinching match.

Wagner (four goals), Soto (three goals) and Taylor Jones (three goals, two assists) were scoring leaders with senior Josie Seltun adding her seventh tally of the season.

"Our team bonding is so huge, too. So even when we're all winded, and we can't communicate as well as we should, the other person knows exactly what you're going to do," Kerry said.

Working as a unit has allowed Chanhassen to hold opponents to an average of 5.83 goals per game. Sophomore goaltender Kaylyn Cater has one of the state's top save percentages at nearly 60.

Despite playing five of other top-10 teams this season, only two teams have scored more than six goals on the Storm.

"The best is when they don't blow the whistle when they should. You're getting to play defense on a girl for like 30 seconds. It's such a fun challenge, Armani said.

"We used to be the ones chasing Macy (Buan) and Rylee (Flaherty) around, following their lead. Now we're the ones where girls like Ballie (Whalen) and Siri (Hodgins) are looking up to. It's a lot of fun being a leader on the defensive end," Armani added.

KEEP FIGHTING

In a recent game with Breck School, then ranked No. 4 in state, Chanhassen trailed by three goals with 90 seconds left. Play the game out, right.

Wrong.

The Storm fought back, tying the game at 12 before winning in overtime on a Leah Hodgins goal.

"I think it showed us a lesson of never giving up. Those last couple of minutes in a game can be crazy. You're never out of match. The finish can be such an exciting, fast-paced adrenaline rush," Kerry said.

That kind of attitude may be needed as Chanhassen navigates through the Section 2 bracket.

"Once we scored a goal, and then the next goal, we almost caught ourselves looking at each other saying 'what the heck is happening.' That was the most adrenaline I've ever had in a game," Armani said.

"My heart was beating so fast in overtime. Thinking back at it, it was almost like a blur. I was just shaking, hoping (Leah) would make the shot," Hodgins said.

WHAT'S NEXT

Hodgins has signed on to play at Concordia-St. Paul. Four more years was never a doubt for her.

"I've been playing so long and I just love it so much. My mom (assistant coach Tamara Hodgins) played in college, so kind of following in her footsteps. She's been a heavy influence on me playing in college," Hodgins said.

Armani and Kerry are hanging up the cleats after the season. Armani plans to attend the University of Minnesota, while Kerry is headed to Georgia Tech to study Biomedical Engineering, an area of interest discovered while spending time in Central America in recent years.

A nice six-hour drive between Atlanta and Durham, N.C. to visit her brother, Jadon, a redshirt freshman with the men's Duke Lacrosse program.

"For me, with the research side of school, that's going to take up a lot of time. It was one thing or the other and for me, focusing on school, maybe playing club, was the right decision for me," said Kerry, who joined lacrosse because of her brother, spending long hours in the backyard defending his attack.

"After playing for seven or eight years, I'm just ready to say goodbye to it. I'm sad, but I think I'm alright with that decision," Armani said.

Chanhassen will play the winner of Delano/Rockford and Mound-Westonka at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 30. Chaska will host Holy Family Catholic in a pigtail match at the same time on Tuesday, May 28.

BOYS: Chanhassen 15, Chaska 2

An 8-1 lead at halftime, Chanhassen finished the regular season with a 7-6 record following a 15-2 win over Chaska May 23.

The Storm were third in the Metro West Conference standings at 3-2.

No goal information was available for Chanhassen.

Cooper Eidem netted a tally for Chaska in the second quarter with Nathan Schwarz scoring early in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks, 4-8 overall, were 1-4 in the Metro West Conference.

The Section 2 playoffs begin Wednesday, May 29. Chaska is at Shakopee, while Chanhassen hosts Orono. Both matches begin at 7 p.m.

BOYS: Minnetonka 9, St. Michael-Albertville 4

Third-ranked Minnetonka completed the regular season with a 12-1 record after defeating St. Michael-Albertville by a 9-4 score on May 23.

The Skippers honored 15 seniors before the match.

Braedon Lacomy scored a career-high five goals for Minnetonka with Grant Brunsvold adding two tallies to his season total of 34.

Max McGraw and Luke Tollefson added goals as well with Tollefson and Elliot Ische ground ball leaders with six and five, respectively.

Josh Nelson made six saves for the Skippers in his first start of the season.

Minnetonka opens the Section 2 playoffs on Thursday, May 30 against the winner of Southwest Christian and Holy Family Catholic.

BOYS: Moorhead 9, Holy Family Catholic 8

Moorhead scored three times in the fourth quarter, rallying for a 9-8 win over Holy Family Catholic on May 25 in Victoria.

The game tied at five at halftime, the Fire led 8-6 into the final 12 minutes.

Kellen Baklund netted a hat trick to lead Holy Family, which opens the Section 2 playoffs at Southwest Christian on Tuesday, May 28.

Will Swanson, team leader with 21 goals, and Lucas Lembke, scored twice in the loss as well.

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