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Eastview players hoist the Section 3 championship trophy after beating Eagan 8-7 at Farmington High School. Photo by Helen Nelson

Ryan McNamara isn’t one of those freelance junkies who deviates from the script at the first sign of trouble.
 
When the Eastview coaches draw up a play, McNamara runs it as diagrammed. No questions asked.
 
The Lightning were locked in a fourth-quarter tie against Eagan in the Section 3 championship game on Friday, June 1, at Farmington High School when McNamara received an odd assignment.
 
“They were killing us on the rides. We weren’t clearing the ball, so I just wanted possession,” Eastview coach Tim Roche said, explaining the reasoning behind his timeout call with the ball in the Lightning defensive end. “Let’s settle this down, let’s keep the ball.”
 
Then Roche was struck by a bolt of inspiration.
 
“I thought, ‘Alright, let’s give it Mac. Let him run with it,’ ” said Roche, adding that he lost track of how many timeouts he had left when he burned his second – and final – one midway through the final quarter.

Eastview junior Ryan McNamara celebrates after scoring one of his fourth-quarter goals against Eagan. Photo by Helen Nelson

McNamara, a junior attackman, did as he was told. He trotted down the field and scooped the ball. The whistle blew, and he was off. One move launched him past an Eagan attackman, a downshift into high gear at midfield sent him past a defender. 
 
From there, it was a race to the net. McNamara, easily one of the state’s fastest players, doesn’t lose many races.
 
“I didn’t think he would score,” Roche said after the Lightning beat the Wildcats 8-7 for the Section 3 championship. “That wasn’t the plan but …  you have to love it. 
 
“That was ginormous.”
 
That’s McNamara. His low shot scooted past Eagan goaltender Lucas Petersen for the game-winning goal. 
 
McNamara, one of seven Minnesota first-team All-American selections, also scored the tying goal. He set up yet another goal in the fourth quarter, when the Lightning outscored the Wildcats 4-0 as they rallied for the victory.
 
Eastview senior Jake Heppner, himself one of seven Mr. Lacrosse finalists, has played alongside his good buddy McNamara in countless games, dating back to when they were both barely taller than their lacrosse sticks. Heppner has seen McNamara score all manner of goals. But none like this.
 
“I liked the coast-to-coast goal,” Heppner said with a laugh. “I didn’t think he was going to go down all the way and score either.
 
“The kid is clutch.”
 
Drama-packed victories have been commonplace this season for the Lightning, who have grown accustomed to the pressure that accompanies tight finishes against state-ranked opponents.
 
Eastview beat Minnetonka 16-15 to open the season, topped Mahtomedi 9-8 in late April and rallied to beat Rosemount 8-7 in early May. The Lightning, who missed the net repeatedly in the first half, appeared much more comfortable in the late going, when they took the time to take dead aim.
 
“It seems like we played too many close games, but it helped us in the end today,” McNamara said. “We thought about all the work we put in during the offseason. Weight training, all the balls we shot before and after practice.”
 
The Lightning, Heppner said, are a second-half team.
 
“I think it comes down to what we did in the offseason to prepare, to condition,” he said. “We’re just in better shape than other teams. That helps us in the fourth quarter, so we can make those runs like we did.”

Eastview's Ryan McNamara fires a shot at Eagan goaltender Lucas Petersen. Photo by Helen Nelson

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Ryan McNamara

Junior attackman Ryan McNamara went coast to coast to score the winning goal in the fourth quarter, lifting No. 2-ranked Eastview to an 8-7 victory over No. 4 Eagan on Friday, June 1, in the Section 3 championship game at Farmington High School.
 
The Lightning (14-1) play in the state semifinals on Tuesday at Chanhassen High School. Pairings and times of the matchups have yet to be determined.
 
McNamara’s winner came with 6 minutes, 25 seconds left in the fourth quarter and about 90 seconds after he had tied the score at 7 with a stop-and-go spin move that shook him loose from a defender at the right post.
 
One of seven Minnesota first-team All-American selections, McNamara also set up a goal by Erik Gage in the fourth quarter as the Lightning scored four unanswered goals to rally from a 7-4 deficit.
 
Junior Cullen Willox scored three goals for No. 2-seeded Eagan (14-3), which led 5-2 at halftime.
 
Junior Tanner Hamill scored three goals for No. 1-seeded Eastview, including one of the Lighting’s four fourth-quarter goals.
 
Eagan lost despite a dominant performance from face-off specialst Scott Pescheret, who won 13 of 15 draws.
 
Two of Eagan's three losses this season came against Eastview.
Elusive? Check. Crafty? Check. Fast? Check again. McNamara can now add clutch to his list of attributes, as he scored twice in the fourth quarter – tying the score and then firing home the winner. The junior attackman scored the winner after a 60-yard burst down the right sideline. He tied the game on a brilliant piece of footwork that spanned two yards near the right goalpost.
 
A junior attackman, Hamill provided a much-needed boost of offense while Lightning stars Ryan McNamara and Jake Heppner, a Mr. Lacrosse finalist, were hounded and harassed by two and three Eagan defenders. Hamill scored three goals, including one during Eastview’s fourth-quarter comeback.
 
Willox, a junior midfielder, scored a goal in each of the first three quarters as he repeatedly bulled his way through the Eastview defense. He showed some finesse, too, dodging around defenders when the straight-on approach failed.

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