Park-Woodbury girls lacrosse: 'Royal Pack' has momentum
The Park-Woodbury girls lacrosse team will find out quickly if it has improved from last season.
Last year, in its section quarterfinal match, the Royal Pack (8-6) outscored No. 2 seed Totino-Grace 6-3 in the second half, but lost the game 11-7.
This year, the season starts April 8 at Park High School against that same Totino-Grace squad.
Last year, Park-Woodbury improved its overall win total by five games after going 3-11 in 2006-07. Two years ago the club tallied 30 goals, but the Royal Pack scored 100 goals last season. In all, 17 players scored at least one goal.
"We have a number of girls who are real athletes," Park-Woodbury co-head coach Kyle Kane said. "Many play soccer and hockey, or participate in other varsity sports. Many of our girls also commit to various opportunities for fall and winter development as well. We have a team with great energy and enthusiasm for the sport made up of athletes from across the district."
The team will need to replace its main offensive weapon from last year in 2008 Park graduate Jessica Gutierrez. Gutierrez was an all-state honorable mention award winner and was in the top 10 in the state for goals with 34 on the year.
However, the Royal Pack returns its second and third leading scorers from last season in junior midfielders Kelby Land and Holly Frankenberg. Land was second on the team with 11 goals and Frankenberg was third with 10 goals. The team also returns two key seniors -- its captains -- Amanda McNeese and Kelsey Anderson.
McNeese was an all-state honorable mention defender as a junior and Anderson was fourth on the team in scoring with nine goals.
In addition to losing Gutierrez, the Royal Pack also must replace its starting goaltender from last year in all-conference netminder Emily Bartlett.
Filling in between the pipes this year will be senior Melanie Currey, who played some minutes in the nets for Park-Woodbury last season.
"Because lacrosse is a relatively new sport, even our most experienced players have only about two to three years under their belt," Kane said. "We're still working on developing sound fundamentals -- passing, shooting, etc. Up to a third of our players this season may have never played lacrosse before so we're consistently working on the basics."
PARK-WOODBURY GIRLS LACROSSE
-- 2007 - 08: 8-6 overall
-- 2008 - 09
Key returners: Kelby Land, jr. mid.; Holly Frankenberg, jr. mid.; Amanda McNeese, sr. def.; Kelsey Anderson, sr. fwd.; Melanie Currey, sr. goalie.
Key graduates: Jessica Gutierrez; Emily Bartlett.
Main competition: SEC: Roseville, Stillwater, Mounds View. Section 3AA: Bloomington Kennedy.