“She’s really stepped up with her leadership,” said older sister Hannah, a former Eden Prairie and college lacrosse standout. “She likes to hide a little bit but she’d had a great year and is getting better at handling the attention.” Photo by Jerry Holt, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kacie Riggs saw Eden Prairie lacrosse teammate Kate Pearson hit the turf and felt a familiar sadness watching the Eagles’ best defender cry while struggling to bend her right knee.
Two years ago, an ACL tear sidelined Riggs for her entire sophomore season. Two games into Pearson’s senior season, she suffered a similar fate.
“I went over to her and I was holding her hand,” Riggs said. “It was tough for me. I started crying because I’ve been there, done that and I know what’s ahead for her.”
During her months of rehabilitation, Riggs would utter the phrase “minor setback, major comeback.” As a junior last season, she returned to the Eagles with vigor, scoring 40 goals for the state tournament runners-up. This season, the senior midfielder continues to score (33 goals) but has become more involved defensively to help ease the loss of Pearson.
Riggs’ two-way dominance leads top-ranked Eden Prairie into this week’s state tournament and earned her Star Tribune Metro of the Year honors.
“She’s really stepped up with her leadership,” said older sister Hannah, a former Eden Prairie and college lacrosse standout. “She likes to hide a little bit but she’d had a great year and is getting better at handling the attention.”
Hannah Riggs started the season coaching the Breck girls’ lacrosse team but left midseason to take a job in Southern California. Her final game at the helm came against Eden Prairie, and her sometimes-quiet younger sister wasn’t shy about a little sibling rivalry.
“She stayed just for that game and I was telling my teammates, ‘We have to beat her or I know she will never stop talking about it if we don’t,’ ” said Kacie, who scored a season-high five goals in a 21-9 victory.
Riggs joins teammates Maggie Brown, Brooke Lewis, CJ Froemming and Emilie Bloyer as U.S. Lacrosse All-America first team selections. She stands apart for doing the little things well in all aspects. She takes the draw or wins draws controls, causes turnovers and makes plays that lead to goals.
Team-first gestures extend beyond the field. The morning after Pearson’s injury, Riggs gave her teammate “all my old knee braces so she didn’t have to buy new ones.’’