04 June 2014

Girls Lacrosse: South spoils another party

2014 Section 1 runner-ups (photo by Jim Lindquist)
If Farmington is looking to develop a rivalry in the South Suburban Conference next year, Lakeville South might be an appropriate choice.

For the fourth time this spring the Cougars eliminated the Tigers from post-season competition, this time with a 12-5 win in Tuesday's night's Section 1 championship at Tiger Stadium.

Over the previous two weeks South had also taken out Farmington in post-season play in baseball, softball and boys lacrosse.

Tuesday's title match pitted the No. 5-rated Tigers who came in riding a 13-game winning streak and the sixth-ranked Cougars who had won six straight.

The Tigers shot out of the gate with leading scorers Rachael Welzin and Shelby Klotz each finding the net in the game's first 65 seconds for a 2-0 lead.

South responded in kind but Ashley Steffes put her team back on top 3-2 with a goal at 7:56 of the opening half.

Farmington held its last lead at 4-3 on Becky Genzler's score with 6:52 to go before intermission before the game took an about face. South rattled off four unanswered goals in the final four minutes of the half to hit the break with a three-goal lead.

Rachael Welzin scored 2 goals (photo by Jim Lindquist)

 "Lacrosse is a game of runs, more than any other sport I have played or coached," Tiger coach Dan Pickens said. "I have seen leads appear and disappear very fast. The beginning and end of the halves are huge and they came up big."
The second half belonged to the Cougars who seemed to control every face-off and subsequently time of possession.

"We won only six out of 19 draws in the game and that along with the possession made a big difference," Pickens said.

South scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half and then after Welzin netted the only Tiger goal of the second half, tacked on three more to sew up the Section 1 berth in next week's state tournament in Chanhassen.

"The biggest difference was ball control and winning little battles around the field for possession," Pickens said. "If we could go back and had another day to prepare, I wouldn’t do anything differently. We were ready and the girls were excited. It just wasn’t our night."

The final shots on goal numbers told the ball control story as the Cougars finished with a 25-9 bulge. Tiger goalie Maddie Kohlbeck racked up 13 saves in her final high school game.

Farmington finished the season with a school-record 14-2 mark with both losses to South. The Tigers went undefeated while winning the first-ever Missota Conference championship and according to Pickens, raised the bar for his program significantly.

"I have to keep reminding myself and the girls not to be sad because it ended, but happy because it happened," Pickens said. "This was an incredible ride. I knew we were going to be good this year, but had no idea we would accomplish this much.

"I am so proud of how this team came together and acted as a team. When one got down, others picked her up. The season was not without its challenges, but I will remember this team and this year for many years. I feel blessed to be able to be a part of a great group like this."

Shelby Klotz had a goal and an assist (photo by Jim Lindquist)