The Shakopee boys lacrosse team has opened the season looking like a top state contender.
The No. 4-ranked Sabers earned their first-ever win over Prior Lake April 25 with a 12-7 road victory over the No. 3 Lakers to open the South Suburban Conference season.
Shakopee went into the contest with four straight non-league wins: 6-2 at Bloomington Jefferson April 13, 19-4 versus Chaska April 15, 8-4 versus Buffalo April 18 and 21-1 at Breck April 21.
The Sabers were a state contender last year with a 14-2 overall record (6-1 in the SSC). Their two losses were 11-10 to Prior Lake in SSC play and 13-12 to Chanhassen in the Section 2 title game.
Second-ranked Chanhassen also denied the Sabers in the section final in 2021, winning 12-11.
In the win over Prior Lake, Shakopee had to find a way to slow down the Lakers’ Ben Mickett, who scored four goals in the first half. The Sabers trailed 5-2 early and were down 5-4 at the break.
But Shakopee took control in the second half, outscoring Prior Lake 8-2, including 4-0 in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Jacob Lee scored late in the third quarter to put the Sabers up 8-7.
Senior Linus Toward finished with three goals for the Shakopee, while senior Zane Orchard had two goals and two assists. Senior Harrison Vega also scored twice, while senior Gavin McNee and juniors Tanner Bachelor, Charlie Lindahl and Jake Marschall each had one goal.
Lindahl also had a pair of assists. Senior Weston Brosam got the start in goal and made seven saves.
In the win over Breck, Brosam only faced four shots on goal, making three saves. Toward dominated on offense, finishing with eight goals and two assists.
Orchard scored four times and added two assists, while junior Jack Jenneman had a pair of goals. Vega, Marschall, McNee, seniors Cole Brosz and Owen Block, sophomores Landon Toward and Zachary Docteur all had one goal.
Landon Toward also had four assists, while Lindahl and Marschall both had two, and Vega, Block and McNee each had one.
Against Buffalo, Shakopee outscored the Bison 5-2 in the second half to pull away for the win. Linus Toward scored three times to lead the team, while Vega had two goals and an assist.
Orchard finished with a goal and two assists, while Docteur and senior Bryce Hennen also scored. Senior Colin Kostelac, Landon Toward and Marschall all picked up one assist.
Brosam made eight saves in goal.
The SSC has five ranked teams, including No. 5 Lakeville North, No. 6 Eastview-Apple Valley and No. 9 Rosemount, so the Sabers still have work to do to win their first-ever league title.
Shakopee gets those three teams in order, starting with Eastview-Apple Valley on the road May 9 and then home to Rosemount and Lakeville North May 11 and 16, respectively.
The first round of Section 2 play starts May 30 with the title game set for June 7. The field also includes Eden Prairie, Buffalo, Minnetonka, Chaska, Orono, Mound Westonka, Southwest Christian, Holy Family, Waconia and Delano-Rockford.
The state competition will be June 13, 15 and 17 at Stillwater and White Bear Lake High Schools. Benilde-St. Margaret’s has won the last two titles, beating Prior Lake in both championship games.