Park boys lacrosse: It's on - Wolfpack takes field for first timeThe new Park Wolfpack boys lacrosse team took the field for the first time in history on Monday at Park High School’s Wolfpack Stadium culminating years of hard work by Park head coach Greg Rinzel and a number of other lacrosse faithful.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The name on the jersey may finally say Wolfpack. But, for one night at least, it could have said Pioneers.
The new Park Wolfpack boys lacrosse team took the field for the first time in history on Monday at Park High School’s Wolfpack Stadium culminating years of hard work by Park head coach Greg Rinzel and a number of other lacrosse faithful.
However, visiting Rochester John Marshall spoiled the party, topping Park 11-5 in the opener.
“It’s a milestone,” Rinzel said. “I have high expectations for the team. Wins and losses isn’t how we’re going to judge this year, it’s going to be how this team develops and grows as an organization and as a culture here at Park.”
In District 833, lacrosse began at Woodbury High School, with Park having a few players in the cooperative program. After East Ridge opened in 2009, the three area high schools formed a one-team cooperative for one year. In 2010, however, Woodbury was separated and East Ridge and Park formed a cooperative for the past two seasons. But, this year all three high schools have their own lacrosse teams – boys and girls – for the first time.
For the past five years, Rinzel – a 1989 Park graduate – and Park assistant coach Cody Otte, who graduated from Park in 2009, have coached lacrosse for the Cottage Grove recreation department, building the program into what it is today.
“It was fun to see us out there for the first time in history,” Rinzel said. “We came with a lot of enthusiasm. The boys were excited and raring to go. We had really good energy on the field for the first quarter and a half. We just didn’t capitalize on a lot of our opportunities. I would have felt a lot better if it would have gone our way.”
In the season opener, Park trailed Rochester only 9-5 heading into the fourth quarter. However, the Rockets scored two goals to take an 11-5 lead with 6:24 and held on for the win.
“The strength we generally have is ball control and discipline,” Rinzel said. “Tonight we lacked in both of those areas. We’re usually a calmer team. Our unforced errors cost us the game.”
Rinzel said Rochester John Marshall scored four goals off of Park turnovers in their own defensive zone.
“I think our guys were rushing too much today. They got happy feet and made some unwise passes. They didn’t play a real disciplined lacrosse game like they know and can play,” he said.
For Park, Luke Nelson netted three goals, while Lauden Rinzel and Brent Wallace each scored one goal.
“They are fairly comparable with us,” he said. “I think we have better individual talent than they have. It’s just the matter of clicking. Some of our passes were just a half step off of being a goal. We probably left 10 goals on the field on plays that usually would have been goals.”
Park played its first ever Suburban East Conference game on Tuesday, after the Bulletin went to print. Next, the Wolfpack plays host to SEC foe Roseville on Monday at Park High School.
Coach Rinzel said the team didn’t have an “embarrassing” effort in the opener and that the Wolfpack is still “getting the formula down.”
“It’s kind of like working with super glue,” he said. “We’re using school glue right now and we’re almost to the super glue. The formula isn’t quite mastered yet. We’ll iron that out.”