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2014 Spring Preview: Loads of talent returns to Park girls lacrosse team

The Park girls lacrosse team caught fire late in the season, and it hopes to keep that going in 2014.

The Wolfpack returns many key players from a team that won three of their last five regular season games and went to the Section 4 semifinals. They edged White Bear Lake 9-8 after having lost to the Bears in the regular season.

“We return quite a few players with varsity experience especially in the attacking end of the field,” Wolfpack seventh-year coach Scott Leonard said.

Leading scorer Bailey Aasen, one of three team captains, returns. The junior forward racked up 55 points last season.

Maddie Nelson, second on the team for points in 2013 with 43, also returns as a team captain at forward. Dani Perry, a forward, returns after her 27-point season.

Midfielder Emma Waller, a team captain, put up 23 points last season. Maggie Oppold also returns for the Wolfpack at defender, and Molly Haus will play in goal again this season. She had a .557 save percentage last year.

Paige Press will join the Wolfpack this season. Leonard anticipates her being a help in the midfield.

Experience on defense remains the question. The Wolfpack lost goalie Bitsy Magee, forward Ashley Wagenman and defender Alli Mathiason to graduation. Moreover, last year’s team gave up 11.9 goals per game.

“We will be very young on the defensive end but have some good athletes to work with,” Leonard said.

Last year, the Wolfpack went 7-9 overall, but they went 4-3 in their final seven games. Their offense posted 9.1 goals per game.

Getting road wins early will dictate the Wolfpack’s start to the season as they open with four on the road. They open at Rosemount on April 15 and then play couple of games in Rochester. The Wolfpack’s Suburban East Conference schedule will open at Cretin-Derham Hall on April 21.

Late in the season, the Wolfpack will have key games with East Ridge on May 7, a team the Wolfpack lost to by two goals, 10-8, last year.

May 19 will bring Woodbury to town for their season finale. The Wolfpack edged the Royals in their 2013 clash, 7-5.

—Matthew Davis