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The return of high-scoring Remi Larson, above, is one reason why Stillwater remains one of the state's top teams. Photo by Katherine Matthews

For most of the last decade, the state’s girls’ lacrosse pecking order has been Blake, Eden Prairie and everyone else. In recent years, however, Lakeville North and Stillwater have separated themselves from the “everyone else” pack.

Stillwater, fueled by a massive youth program, has appeared in the last three state tournaments.

Lakeville North pulled off one of the most shocking upsets in state history last year when it knocked off Eden Prairie in the state tournament semifinals before losing to Blake in the title game. Lakeville North has opened its season with a schedule that couldn’t be more difficult, losing to Eden Prairie and Blake by a combined score of 40- 13.

But don’t count the Panthers out just yet. Lakeville North still figures to be a force once it's re-tooled lineup gains some experience.

Stillwater, trying to recover from the graducation of scoring star and Ms. Lacrosse finalist Dana Almquist, routed Minnehaha Academy 18-1 in its season opener on April 17.

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