Boys lacrosse: Park beats East Ridge for first ever conference winThe Wolfpack topped intra-district rival East Ridge 14-12 to earn its first Suburban East Conference win in school history.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
The Park boys lacrosse team made history on Monday.
The Wolfpack topped intra-district rival East Ridge 14-12 to earn its first Suburban East Conference win in school history.
“I’m real happy with the way the guys played,” Park head coach Greg Rinzel said. “They came out a little flat – the warm-up made me nervous – it didn’t seem like we had everything together, but they went from the first whistle and didn’t slow down till the end. The boys went out there and really worked hard.”
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.
Four of Park’s current players played on the cooperative team between East Ridge and Park last year.
The former teammates from Park and East Ridge faced off for the first time on Monday.
“The kids are excited,” Rinzel said. “It’s the first conference win and it’s against the team we were joined with last year. The kids played at East Ridge’s field and kind of felt like it was East Ridge’s program. Now that we broke off it is really good to see a win out of Park the first time playing them.”
Rinzel coached a handful of the East Ridge players in his time with the Cottage Grove youth lacrosse program and when he was an assistant coach of the Park-Woodbury cooperative boys lacrosse team. “It’s a rivalry. A lot of the kids played together in youth programs. We had kids that played in Cottage Grove at East Ridge and some of our kids played at East Ridge,” Rinzel said. “It’s bittersweet when you see kids work hard and end up on the losing end of the stick. But, that’s the way lacrosse is – someone has to win and someone has to lose. I’m just glad we came out on top.”
In Park’s win, the Wolfpack took an 8-6 lead into halftime after scoring two goals with less than two minutes remaining in the first half to break a 6-6 tie. In the second half, Park went up 13-6 at one point, but East Ridge (2-5; 2-2 SEC) cut the Wolfpack’s lead to 14-11 with four minutes left to play. However, the Wolfpack held on in the waning minutes for the win.
Rinzel said the span of time just before the half and after the half was the difference in the game.
“That really shifted momentum,” he said. “That really gave our guys the confidence they could score a lot of goals. The halftime pep talk was that we were going to score double digits. That was our goal to score double digits and I’m proud of the kids for going out and doing that.”
East Ridge had more penalties than Park in the game – which Rinzel said was another key.
“They took a lot more penalties than we did. They sat in the box and didn’t keep their heads and took some bad penalties, which hurt them. We took the momentum and didn’t let up until the end,” he said. Seven different players scored for Park in the game. Juniors Austin Herder and Luke Nelson each scored three goals, sophomores Brent Wallace, Lauden Rinzel and Zach Bezek each scored two goals and juniors Cody Newton and Jacob Garr each tallied one goal.
“I’m proud that it wasn’t just one player. We had a lot of different players contribute offensively. I’m just real proud of everyone’s effort out there,” Rinzel said.
Park improved to 3-6 overall and 1-5 in the conference with the victory over East Ridge.
Earlier in the week, Park was crushed 23-2 by White Bear Lake (6-0; 5-0 SEC) and fell 8-6 in a close game with Woodbury (3-3; 3-2 SEC), but bounced back with a 9-5 non-conference win over Simley (1-5).
Next, Park travels to Forest Lake (1-7; 0-4 SEC) on Wednesday.
Rinzel said the intra-district rivalry games will always be “battles.”
“Every time we step on the field against each other there will be no guaranteed win and no guaranteed loss,” he said. “They’re going to be hard-fought games right to the end.”