Blake strikes a pose after winning its third straight state championship and fourth in six years. Photo by Helen Nelson
Eden Prairie's Jessica Lagerquist runs past Blake's Brynne Swearingen during the Bears' 11-10 state championship victory. Photo by Helen Nelson
Nicole Kozlak scored four goals and Meghan Bauer added four points to lead second-seeded Blake to its third straight championship, and fourth title in school history.
Bauer scored twice and had two assists for the No. 2-ranked Bears (16-2) who defeated No. 1-seed and No. 1-ranked Eden Prairie 11-10 on Thursday, June 7, at Chanhassen High School in Chanhassen.
Things started out dicey for Blake when the Bears quickly dropped behind the Eagles 5-1 in the first half. From there, the they charged back to tie the game at five and fight Eden Prairie (17-1) evenly for the rest of the game.
In the second half the teams traded leads until Jordan Chancellor scored a fast-break goal with 3:37 remaining to give the Bears the lead for good.
Up by just one goal, Blake tossed the ball in circles for a few minutes before Eden Prairie scored a turnover to get the ball with around a minute left and a chance to tie the game.
Bears goaltender Bailey Dunning came up with a huge save on a bullet of a shot from Eagles midfielder Jessica Lagerquist to keep the slim lead for Blake as time expired.
Junior midfielder Emma Claire Fontenot led Eden Prairie with three points (one goal, two assists) and Heidi Colford, Annie Thul, and Jessica Lagerquist each scored twice.
Sophomore midfielder/defender Lydia Sutton led the game in points with two goals and three assists for Blake.
The loss was Eden Prairie’s first of the season.
-- Wallker Orenstein, MN Lax Hub staff
1. Nicole Kozlak, Blake
Kozlak scored three of her four goals during Blake’s wild comeback in the first half. Down by four goals, she scored twice to bring the Bears within striking distance and then scored with less than a minute left in the half to bring Blake within one. All around, a great game from the junior midfielder.
2. Lydia Sutton, Blake
The sophomore played both midfielder and defender and tallied a game-high five points. Her fantastic passing energized the team, and her assists came at key moments, including Jordan Chancellor’s game winning goal.
3. Heidi Colford, Eden Prairie
Colford did most of her damage in the first half, scoring twice as Eden Prairie built its early lead. She was too much to handle down low and powered her way to goals right on top of the crease. Although she didn’t score in the second half, she still provided some punch and offensive opportunities for the Eagles.
-- Walker Orenstein, MN Lax Hub staff