The Prior Lake girls lacrosse team is eager to erase the memories of last year’s Section 6 title game.
Rosemount upset the top-seeded Lakers in an 11-10 thriller to deny Prior Lake a chance at a third straight state title.
There will be some new faces in the lineup for the Lakers this spring. The team lost seven seniors from last year, including two of its top three scorers, but rebuild is usually not a word the program has used.
It’s more like reload.
“We have a lot of new faces on varsity that we are really excited about,” Prior Lake coach Heather Pierson said. “Our hope is to be back stronger than we were last year with our goal of returning to state again.”
Prior Lake finished 14-2 last year, including 6-1 in the South Suburban Conference. Lakeville South won the title, and then went on to win the state championship.
Lakeville South handed the Lakers their other loss in league play last spring, winning 7-5.
The SSC has won the last four state titles. Prior Lake won in 2021 and 2019, while Apple Valley, now a co-op program with Burnsville, claimed the crown in 2018.
There was no 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Senior Rachel Ward is the Lakers’ top scorer back. She had 32 goals and 14 assists last year, while senior Nina Winter had 27 goals and 13 assists. Junior Sadie Chappuis had 25 goals and 11 assists, while senior Megan Sporney finished with 24 goals and eight assists and sophomore Abby Grove had 17 goals and three assists.
Ninth-grader Keeley Mohling also returns to help the offense, along with junior Kayleigh Sandell, sophomores Sophia Basile and Tali Baldzicki and ninth-grader Britney Pinkowski.
The defensive unit will have some new faces with sophomore Madeline Sazama and junior Piper Green returning, while junior Sofia Macias, sophomore Chrissy Sabby and ninth-grader Annika Meyer expected to contribute. Senior Ruby Burandt looks to start the season in goal.
“We are a fast team and plan to use speed as our strength,” Pierson said. “We have a lot of versatile players. You may be seeing people play in multiple positions.
“Something we started really building off of last year was working well as a whole team on the field,” Pierson added. “All 12 players instead of individual units of defenders, midfielders and attackers. This team is extremely close and are communicating effectively with each other on the field with the needs within each position.”
Prior Lake will open the SSC season at home versus Shakopee April 25. The Lakers will end the regular season May 23 at home to Lakeville South.
Prior Lake has lost just two conference games since 2015 and both were to Lakeville South. The Cougars’ win last spring snapped the Lakers’ 49-game SSC win streak.
Prior Lake also lost to Lakeville South 13-12 back in 2015.
This year’s Section 6 playoffs will start May 30 with the first round, while the finals will be June 8. Another strong team in the field outside of Rosemount is Edina, who beat Prior Lake in the Section 6 final in 2018.
Bloomington Jefferson and Eagan-Eastview are also teams to watch in the section.
This year’s state tournament will be June 13, 15 and 17 at two sites, Stillwater and White Bear Lake High Schools.