Conner Yepsen, center, and Rosemount run drills during indoor practice at the Irish Sports Dome. Photo by Bruce Bisping, Star Tribune (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Offense won’t be a problem for the Rosemount boys’ lacrosse squad. Defense will determine how successful of a season it has in 2013.
“We’ll have a high-powered offense,” Rosemount coach Lance Kuehn said. “We expect to score a lot of goals. The key will be keeping the ball out of our net.”
The Irish have won at least 10 games in each of the past three seasons. They went 12-4 in 2012.
“We lost 14 seniors from last year’s team,” Kuehn said. “Most of our defense is new to varsity, which is unique.”
That would usually be a concern for Kuehn, but he likes the makeup of this year’s group.
“I like the cohesiveness as a group,” Kuehn said. “They are good at communicating with each other.”
Communication also shouldn’t be a problem up front, especially between junior twin brothers Carter and Conner Yepsen. It will be their fourth season playing at the varsity level.
“I’ve seen them transform from eighth-graders who were ‘wowed’ to sophomores who can take over a game,” Kuehn said. “They are two of the hardest-working kids I’ve even seen in lacrosse,” Kuehn said. “Every year they get bigger, stronger and faster. They are relentless when it comes to getting better.”
A year ago, Carter had 41 goals and 26 assists while Conner had 28 goals and 18 assists.
“I don’t think the team scored a goal its first year,” Carter said. “Our coaches have really worked on player development, and now we are one of the top 10 teams in the state.”
They will be joined up front by another outstanding scorer in senior Grant VanOverbeke. He registered 34 goals and 20 assists last year after leading the state in scoring as a sophomore.
Junior Trent Woodcock (14 goals and five assists) and seniors Mitch Anderson and Andrew Haisting head the midfielders. Anderson will be in his fifth season at the varsity level.
Senior goaltender Chase Olson enters his third season as a starter. The Irish allowed 7.2 goals per game last season, but that number inflated to 12.8 in their four loses.
The first three games on this year’s schedule are against teams that delivered those four setbacks — Eagan (twice), Eastview and Minnetonka. The Irish open their season at home against Minnetonka on Thursday before squaring off against last year’s state champion Eastview and Eagan in South Suburban Conference play.
“We start the season with three of the toughest teams we play,” Kuehn said. “It will provide a good measuring stick. It will show us what we need to work on, and help prepare us for playoff time.”
The Irish lost to Eagan 15-4 in section play last year. They have yet to advance to the state tournament.
“Our No. 1 goal is to win the conference, and go to the state tournament,” Carter said. “I think that’s possible this year.”