Jackson Leischow of Benilde-St. Margaret's leans into a Stillwater defender as he brings the ball up the field Thursday in the boys' lacrosse state tournament semifinal. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Goose, a new play learned by the Prior Lake boys’ lacrosse team in practice Wednesday, paid dividends Thursday in the Lakers’ state tournament semifinal victory.
The result — a Jack Smith overtime goal for a 10-9 escape of Lakeville North — belied the questionable execution.
Designed to circumvent North’s solid zone defense, Goose “was a little loosey-goosey,” Lakers coach Casey Mithun said jokingly. “But at some point, the players just have to play and let the game come to them.”
Smith, a senior attackman, cut to the Panthers’ net and received a pass from Cooper Busch to bury.
“I was just one of the options and I just happened to be open,” said Smith, who tallied his lone goal of the game and his 19th of the season. “It was a crazy feeling.”
In a tension-drenched final minute of regulation, No. 3 seed Prior Lake (15-3) fired three shots on North’s goal to no avail. Reaching overtime gave the Panthers (12-6) an upset chance after losing 9-6 in the teams’ previous meeting this spring.
“That’s sort of a microcosm of our whole season,” Lakeville North coach Tim Roche said. “Down and maybe counted out, but the guys fought back and battled through adversity as a team.”
Smith kept Prior Lake, winners of the last state tournament played in 2019, on a repeat path.
Mithun said Smith is called “Mr. Clutch,” because he contributes “big goals, big ground balls, and he rides super hard. That overtime goal is going to be on the score sheet, but he brings so much more than scoring goals.”