16 June 2014

Boys Lacrosse: A new standard set

Dan Block: All-Missota Conference, All-Section 1 (photo by Jim Lindquist)
A look at the final numbers tells the tale of the 2014 season.

Farmington set a school record with a final 11-4 mark and went 3-2 in its first (and only) season in Missota Conference play. The Tigers drew the No. 2 seed for the Section 1 tournament and hosted two post-season games for the first time in program history.

"The most important thing this year was how our team played team offense and defense," coach Paul Sorensen said "We really bonded as 'family' on and off the field.

"For the first time I could see a shift in culture to one of a true lacrosse program, not just a bunch of guys playing the sport. This group made me a better coach in many ways."

Twenty four players received varsity letters for their contributions to the record-setting season, including 10 seniors: Corey Rudrud, Alex Aubrecht, Nick Workman, Michael Thompson, Dan Block, Chris Fitzgibbons, Mitch Hilton, Kevin Clifton, Alex Kelly and Caleb Hakala.

Underclassmen letterwinners included juniors Garrett Gunderson and Kyle Kratz; sophomores Tyler Jette, Jake Herrera, Nick Fogarty, Mitch Grengs, Connor Olson, Vincent Donahue and James Thompson and freshmen Thomas Fogarty, Tommy Carey, Nick Hinnenkamp, Bryan Aguilar and Isaac Kuehn.

Kyle Kratz: All-Missota, All-Section (photo by J. Lindquist)
Block, 10th in the state in ground balls) and goalie Kratz (second in the state in save percentage and third in goals-against average) each earned a berth on the all-Missota Conference team.

Aubrecht (seventh in the state in ground balls) and Rudrud (36 points) received all-conference honorable mentions.

Block and Kratz also made the all-Section 1 squad; Aubrecht and Rudrud were selected to the all-section section second team.

Sorensen said the season was crammed full of highlights, including his team's defensive prowess which was ranked among the top three teams in the state in goals allowed per game. No opponent managed to score in double digits on the Tigers all season.

"We were one of the top ground ball teams in the state," he said "and that's a major hustle stat...Our offense also  played with flow and poise."

The loss to Lakeville South in the section semifinals and an early season game in which the Tigers amassed a whopping 19 penalties headed the short list of disappointments from the season just completed.

As for the future, Sorensen, the program's only coach in its five-year history, is optimistic.

"We are going to be young and hungry lions heading into our first year in the South Suburban Conference," he said. "We'll have many holes to fill at middie and in our defense, but we have shown a tendency to play up to the competition.

Leading scorer Corey Rudrud (photo by Jim Lindquist)
"We have a large group of eighth and ninth graders and we have a lot of our guys on the junior varsity who are really close. I see a lot of tough battles for the positions left by our graduating seniors.

"Over the summer we need to get better at things we are uncomfortable with. Address them and master them. It takes a lot of field time to perfect those things."

Sorensen and his staff will bring 107 future Tigers to the Farmington youth program this summer, the largest group ever.

"The future looks bright," he said.

Alex Aubrecht seventh in the state in ground balls (photo by Jim Lindquist)