The Prior Lake girls soccer team looks to have a long road ahead in the upcoming Section 2AAA playoffs.
The Lakers will likely earn the No. 7 or maybe the No. 8 seed in the eight-team field with quarterfinal play starting Oct. 12. Prior Lake is 0-4 against section teams this fall with losses to No. 1-ranked Edina (6-0), Shakopee (2-0), Chanhassen (2-1) and Eden Prairie (2-1).
Unbeaten Edina (11-0) will be the No. 1 seed. Five other teams in the field have winning records, including Waconia (9-1-1), Shakopee (8-3-1), Minnetonka (6-5-1), Chanhassen (7-4-1) and Eden Prairie (6-5-1).
Chaska (3-5-1) is also in the field.
Prior Lake (3-6-2 overall, 2-3-1 in the South Suburban Conference) has not had a lot of playoff success in recent years. The Lakers have lost four straight first-round games and have a 1-5 postseason record over the last five seasons.
The last time Prior Lake played for a section title was in 2014 when they lost 1-0 to Eden Prairie. The last time the Lakers had a winning record was in 2015 when they finished 6-5-6 overall.
Prior Lake will end the regular season Oct. 6 with a league game versus Lakeville North. Section 2AAA playoff brackets come out Oct. 9 and will be available at legacy.mshsl.org.
Prior Lake earned a 3-3 conference tie at Eastview Sept. 28. The Lakers went into the contest off back-to-back shutout losses to Edina and Shakopee.
Senior Payton Bloomquist scored her first goal of the season for the Lakers that forced overtime with Eastview. Going into the game, sophomore Isabelle Ohlmann was leading Prior Lake in goals scored with five.
Consistent goal scoring has been an issue for Prior Lake the last few seasons. In the four of the team’s six losses, it has been shutout.
In last fall’s COVID-19 shortened season, the Lakers had just 12 goals in their 12 games. In 2019, Prior Lake scored 26 goals in 16 games, while in 2018 the team scored only 14 goals in 16 contests.
This fall, the Lakers have had three games with three or more goals, including back-to-back four-goal games. The four-goal contests were a 4-3 win over Owatonna Aug. 31 and a 4-0 victory over Lakeville South Sept. 9 in the conference opener.
Bloomquist is also one of just six seniors on the team, including Lauren Marquardt, Sophie Nelson, Liv Gidley, Maddie Michels and Vanessa Marahrens. So the program is in a youth movement.
However, it’s tough to rebuild in the SSC and compete in the Section 2AAA with three perennial power Lake Conference teams in the field every year in Edina, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.
The Minnesota State High School League reclassified sections for all sports last April and soccer went to three classes
The Lake Conference dominated Section 2AA over the last seven years, winning all seven titles. Eden Prairie won four times, while Minnetonka earned two titles and Edina got one.