The Prior Lake girls lacrosse team was denied a perfect season in the South Suburban Conference.
Instead, that went to top-ranked and unbeaten Lakeville South (12-0). The No. 1-ranked Cougars rallied for a 14-13 road win over the No. 2 Lakers May 23.
Prior Lake (11-1 overall) finished the SSC season with a 6-1 record for the second straight spring, while unbeaten Lakeville South won its second straight crown with a 7-0 mark.
Prior Lake has lost just three conference games since 2015, all to the Cougars, the defending state champions. Last spring, Lakeville South snapped the Lakers’ 49-game SSC win streak with a 7-5 win
Prior Lake also lost to Lakeville South 13-12 back in 2015.
Will the two teams meet again in this year’s state title game? The Lakers will have to get through Section 6 first. Rosemount upset Prior Lake in last spring’s title game, winning 11-10.
Section 6 play starts May 30 with the first round, while the finals will be June 8. The higher seed is at home for each round.
Third-ranked Edina (11-1) will get the No. 2 seed behind Prior Lake, since the Lakers beat the Hornets 14-8 back on April 27.
The rest of the field includes Bloomington Jefferson (8-4), Rosemount (7-6), Eastview-Eagan (6-7), Holy Angels (6-5), Bloomington Kennedy (4-8), Valley-Blaze (2-10) and Minneapolis (1-8).
Against Lakeville South, Prior Lake held a 12-9 lead midway through the second half, but couldn’t hold it. The Cougars finished strong, scoring five of the game’s last six goals.
Senior Nina Winter led the Lakers with five goals, while senior Rachel Ward had two goals and two assists and senior Megan Sporney and sophomore Abby Grove both scored twice.
Sophomore Sophia Basile and junior Kayleigh Sandell each had one goal, while junior Sadie Chappuis had two assists. Senior Ruby Burandt finished with seven saves in goal.
Emily Moes and Charlotte Fannin scored nine of the Cougars’ 14 goals with five and four, respectively.
Prior Lake went into the Lakeville South game off a 19-6 league win at Rosemount in a rematch of last year’s section final. The Lakers dominated from the start, leading 14-4 at the break.
Sporney led Prior Lake with five goals, while Sandell had four goals and two assists and Ward scored four times and added an assist. Winter added three goals and two assists, while sophomore Tali Baldzicki had a goal and an assist.
Basile also had a goal for the Lakers, while Chappuis and ninth grader Annika Meyer both had an assist. Burandt made five saves.
The state tournament will be June 13, 15 and 17 at two sites, Stillwater and White Bear Lake High Schools.
Prior Lake won back-to-back state titles in 2019 and 2021. There was no season in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lakers also made the state field in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
An SSC team has won the last four state titles. Apple Valley, now a co-op program with Burnsville, won in 2018.