Park girls lacrosse: Wolfpack mauls No. 7 JeffersonBehind six goals by Karisa Land, Park beat Section 3 foe Bloomington Jefferson 15-11 on Friday at Wolfpack Stadium in Cottage Grove.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
According to Park head girls lacrosse coach Scott Leonard, it was the biggest regular-season win in the team’s history.
Behind six goals by Karisa Land, Park beat Section 3 foe Bloomington Jefferson 15-11 on Friday at Wolfpack Stadium in Cottage Grove.
“That was the best we’ve played in years,” Leonard said. “The girls did everything we asked. It was incredible.”
Bloomington Jefferson had previously been undefeated and was ranked seventh in the state, according to www.laxpower.com. The win was Park’s sixth in a row, since starting the year 0-3. The Wolfpack is now 6-3 and 5-2 in the Suburban East Conference.
“We told them the key to the game was going to be possessing the ball,” Leonard said. “We were able to pass and catch all night and transition down the field.”
Land, a senior attacker, scored a game-high six goals – going 4-for-4 on eight-meter penalty shots – to lead the way for Park. Land scored five goals in a row for Park in the second half between the 20 minute mark to just over four minutes remaining.
“I knew she had it in her,” Leonard said. “She was quick to the net and they’d foul her and she’d bury her eight-meter free shot every time.”
Also for Park, fellow senior Allie Thalhuber added three goals and two assists, while sophomore Maddie Nelson scored two goals and had an assist and senior Erica Weidner had a goal and an assist in the win over Jefferson (7-1). In addition, freshman Bailey Aasen and senior Katie Bresnahan each scored a goal and senior goalie Allie Morse made 13 saves.
The win will play a factor in how Park is seeded in the upcoming Section 3 playoffs, which begin May 19. Before the game, Jefferson was thought to be the No. 2 seed in the section behind likely No. 1 seed Lakeville North, which is ranked fifth in the state.
“Out of the 18 teams in our section there are 11 teams that could compete for the section title,” Leonard said. “Anyone of them can beat anyone of them on any given night. This section is very deep.”
Prior to the win, Park made quick work of Forest Lake, beating the Rangers 12-2 in a Suburban East Conference contest on Wednesday at Park.
Park took a 5-0 lead 15 minutes in and led 12-0 at the half over Forest Lake, which recently lost its best player to an ACL injury.
Park’s overall team defense was the star of the show, holding Forest Lake (4-5; 2-4 SEC) to five shots in the first half.
“Our team played great defense,” Leonard said. “We had attackers and midfielders hustling back in transition causing turnovers in the midfield section. This was a good opportunity for us to work on some of our weak areas.”
Thalhuber led the way offensively for the Wolfpack with five goals. Aasen and Weidner each had two goals, and Bresnahan, Ann Marie Lane and Nelson each had one goal. Nelson and Alicia Wagenman both added assists. Morse got the win in goal, stopping all five shots she faced in the first half, before being replaced by junior Bitsy Magee in the second half.
On the year, Thalhuber leads the team in scoring with 33 points on 28 goals and five assists. Land is second with 21 points on 20 goals and one assist. Nelson is third with 19 points on 12 goals and seven assists. Morse has 123 saves, a .634 save percentage and a goals against average of 8.74.
Park was at SEC foe Hastings (0-8; 0-6 SEC) on Monday, after the Bulletin went to press. Next, the Wolfpack plays back-to-back games at home against Mounds View (6-3; 5-1 SEC) on Wednesday and Farmington (5-3) on Friday.
“Hopefully we play well and help ourselves when it comes to seeding in Section 3,” Leonard said.