Photo by SportsEngine
We task our reporters with identifying several intriguing games throughout the state to assemble our Top Games of the Week. The matchups are presented in no particular order, and when there are additional games we want to highlight, we’ll include them with brief notes.
Prior Lake and Lakeville South are set to square off Thursday in a rematch of last season’s state title game. With each team also sporting a 4-0 mark in the South Suburban Conference, the winner of this regular-season showdown should also take the inside track in the rase to the league crown. Prior Lake has won five consecutive conference titles and has not lost to Lakeville South since May 19, 2015.
Prior Lake's most recent victory was in that state championship, where it defeated Lakeville South 15-7. However, the Lakers offense may not be as potent as it was in 2021. Prior Lake (8-0), No. 1 in the coaches' association rankings released May 3, is averaging only 18.25 points and 12.75 goals per game compared to 23.84 and 16.74 last season. Yet, the Lakers haven't seemed to miss a beat, entering the week with an 8-0 overall mark thanks to Ava Schiltz. The senior has 23 goals and six assists to lead the team in points and power Prior Lake's scoring.
The No. 3-ranked Cougars (5-1) boast one of the best offenses in Minnesota. They have the second-most points per game (25.33) and fourth-most goals (15.17) in the state this season behind the play of senior Brielle Fannin. The University of Colorado-Colorado Springs commit has the third-most points (37) in the state this season and has more assists (22) than goals (15).
This will hardly be the first ranked opponent either team faces this season. Prior Lake recorded narrow victories over No. 4 Rosemount (11-10 on May 3) and No. 2 Chanhassen (10-9 on May 6). Lakeville South's only loss was to Chanhassen (10-9 on April 26).
Friday’s contest features another state tournament rematch with teams also ranked in the top five of the coaches' poll.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s looks to avenge two losses to Rosemount last season, including a 10-7 defeat in the state tournament third-place game. The Irish also took the regular-season matchup 7-6 a year ago.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s is No. 5 in the rankings, but the Red Knight's statistics do not jump off the page. They have scored only 12.17 goals per game and own a .489 save percentage — one reason three of their wins have been by three goals or less. But Benilde-St. Margaret's is still winning and are 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Metro West Conference play entering the week. Senior Tilly Wolfe (29 points) should be a factor Friday as her team's only player with at least 20 points.
Rosemount’s season has been defined by dominant victories and close losses. The margin of victory in each of the Irish's wins has been at least 13 goals, but each of their losses has been by two goals or fewer.
Rosemount's offense has been the key to its success. The No. 4-ranked Irish (5-3, 4-2) lead the conference with 120 goals through eight games, and senior Sayla Lotysz (26 goals, 19 assists, 41 points) has been a significant cog in the engine. She leads a group of four Rosemount players with 20 or more points this season.
Wayzata has relied its three-headed attack this season, and the Trojans will likely need to do so again when facing Section 5 rival Robbinsdale Armstrong and the Falcon's high-flying offense on Thursday.
Ava Score, Julia Lindahl and Katie Sikorski each have 35 or more points this season, helping the Trojans (6-1, 3-1) average 15 goals (sixth best in the state) and 21.71 points (seventh in the state) per game this season.
However, Wayzata has needed the offense to be productive to win games. The Trojans own a .395 save percentage and have allowed fewer than five goals only once this season.
Robbinsdale Armstrong may turn to Lydia College to make things difficult for Wayzata's offense. The sophomore goalie enters the week with a 6-0 record, a 3.64 goals-against average and a .592 save percentage.
On offense, junior Jenna Hamann leads the team in points (31) after posting 17 goals and 14 assists, and has helped the Falcons (6-0, 6-0) have no issues finding the goal this season. Robbinsdale Armstrong averages 17 goals per game and 23.17 points per game.
Through their first six games, the Falcons have also had no trouble taking care of business against their opponents, winning every game by at least 10 goals.
The matchup could also be a preview of what is to come in the postseason. Wayzata and Robbinsdale Armstrong met in the Section 5 semifinals last season, with the Trojans securing the 15-12 win.
Bloomington Kennedy vs. Chaska, 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 10. Bloomington Kennedy (5-2) has already surpassed its 2021 win total (2-11) with help from the state's leading scorer Susan Monson (53 goals). Goalie Megan Jirele (.524 save percentage) and Chaska (5-2) will look to slow Monson in this Metro West Conference showdown.
Simley vs. Two Rivers/Gentry Academy, 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 10. Led by Courtney Kurowski (25 ground balls and 20 goals), Simley is 4-1 overall and looking to add another Metro East Conference win. The Spartans must contain Maryland commit Jaylen Rosga to defeat Two Rivers/Gentry Academy. Rosga has a commanding lead in points (61) in the state this season.
The MN Lax Hub poll is only for entertainment purposes.