02 April 2014

Girls Lacrosse: Looking for a faster start

Rachael Welzin was an all-state midfielder last season (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Last spring the Tigers got off to a slower start than the spring weather, losing five of their first six games. They rallied from the rocky start, however, finishing 8-6 overall and advancing to the section semifinals for the second straight year.

With seven key contributors from that team back in the fold for the 2014 season, coach Dan Pickens is looking for a faster start and an overall improved product.

"On paper we should be the favorites to win the new Missota Conference," he said, "but we will need to prove it by working hard and producing consistently. Staying healthy will help us reach our goals...Overall we are looking for a very successful season."

Senior captains Rachael Welzin (midfielder) and goalkeeper Maddie Kohlbeck lead the list of returnees.

Welzin received all-state honors last spring for her stellar junior season that produced 42 goals and 14 assists. Kohlbeck posted all eight Farmington wins last year and finished the 2013 campaign with an 8.80 goals against average.

Maddie Kohlbeck posted eight wins in 2013 (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Welzin wasn't the only offensive threat for the Tigers last season. Junior attacker Shelby Klotz also lit up the scoreboard, netting 42 points on 35 goals and seven assists.

Other key returnees include senior defender Shaye Jenrich, senior midfielder Kaeli Halverson, junior defender Becky Genzler and ninth-grade attacker Ashley Steffes.

Also expected to see their share of playing time are senior defender Kelly Kornmann, senior defender Mikayla Todd, freshman attacker Amanda Davenport and freshman midfielder Kamryn Corraro.

Pickens said that the leadership of his six seniors will be a big plus with an on-the-field  focus on defense and goaltending.

"Our speed should also be a strength," he said. "We will look to move the ball quickly up the field....We had some good scoring games last year but we were not consistent. We will need to score 10-plus goals by getting secondary points from others besides Rachael and Shelby."

Attacker Shelby Klotz scored 35 goals as a sophomore (photo by Jim Lindquist)
This will be the first year lacrosse will be an official Missota Conference varsity sport and Pickens feels his program's longer history will give the Tigers a leg up in the chase for league honors. As for the section, Lakeville North and Lakeville South should provide the biggest obstacles to a state tournament bid.

"A key to our success will be to forget about expectations and work hard every day," he said. "We as coaches as well as the girls have high expectations but none of that matters if you don't stay humble and work."

Shawn Anderson and Abby Thell will serve as Pickens' varsity assistant coaches this spring.

The Tigers open their 2014 season next Tuesday, April 8, with a non-conference game at Hastings.