Apple Valley junior Reagan Roelofs, the school’s career scoring leader in girls’ lacrosse, leads an experienced roster.
Apple Valley’s girls’ lacrosse program has made significant strides over the past two years. Now it wants to return to 2014, when its current standouts made an appearance in the state tournament.
With nearly its entire lineup intact from last year’s 14-2 team, the destination appears attainable.
“We have a lot of varsity experience,” Eagles junior midfielder Reagan Roelofs said. “I think we’re already ahead of last year’s team. Everybody is working hard together.”
Two years ago, the Eagles finished 9-6. That was only a year removed from the program’s second state tournament berth, the first of which came in 2012.
“We are dramatically better than my freshman year,” Roelofs said.
Roelofs is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 276 career points and already has committed to Navy.
“I wanted to go to the Naval Academy since I was 6 or 7 years old,” Roelofs said. “Adding lacrosse to it just made it easier.”
Roelofs is joined in the midfield by another outstanding junior in Molly Moynihan, who is coming off a 45-goal, 23-assist season in 2016 and already has committed to Louisville.
“All the starting attackers and midfielders started last year, and all can score from any spot on the field,” Apple Valley coach Alexandra Ross said. “That balanced scoring will help us when teams try to face-guard Reagan or Molly.”
The Eagles have an excellent third scoring option in junior attacker Sophia Leong. The four-year starter had 38 goals and 17 assists last year.
Apple Valley has four other returning regulars who are juniors. They are attacker Emma Vogelgesang, midfielder Josie Segar and defenders Kealey Jensen and Ashlyn Hird.
The Eagles have only two seniors on their roster, midfielder Claire Niederer and goalie Ellie Kuchera.
Apple Valley will be bolstered by a solid sophomore class, led by defender Baylee Lewis. Defender Tia Ahmed and defender/midfielder Anika Gram also will see plenty of action. Sophomore Laine Ciarmataro is expected to take over in goal.
“We are very excited about adding another goalie to the team,” Ross said. “She is a great addition to the team.”
Freshman attacker Lily Leong is a two-year starter while eighth-grader Taiva Reinertson also is expected to see some time up front.
“We are still a relatively young team with only two seniors, but the girls have a lot of experience,” Ross said. “Five of this year’s starters were starters on the 2014 state tournament team. The girls don’t want to wait until next year to be successful. They want to go far into the state tournament this year.”
To reach their ultimate goal, Apple Valley must get past South Suburban Conference foe Prior Lake. Both of the Eagles’ losses a year ago came at the hands of the Lakers, 15-14 in the regular season and 13-5 in the Section 6 championship. Two years ago, they also dropped both games to Prior Lake.
“We all have the same goal to go to the state tournament, with the undertone being beating Prior Lake,” Roelofs said. “That’s what we have to do if want to go to state.”