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Girls' top games: Benilde-St. Margaret's squares off against Chanhassen in Metro West showdown

By Brendan O'Brien, SportsEngine, 05/23/22, 8:30AM CDT


May 25: The winner between the Red Knights and Storm will have sole lead in the conference standings.

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.

Benilde-St. Margaret's vs. Chanhassen

7 p.m., Wednesday, May 25

Coming in undefeated in Metro West conference play, Chanhassen and Benilde-St. Margaret’s will be facing off to be the sole leader of the conference. The two top-5 five teams in the state are both 10-1 overall in 2022 and are also looking to use this matchup as preparation for challenges in the postseason.

The Storm, the top-team in the Minnesota coaches’ poll as of May 16, are looking to be the sole Metro West conference champion for the fifth consecutive season played. Led by senior Leah Hodgins (49 points), Chanhassen has one of the best offenses as a team, recording the second-most goals per game with 18.4 and the fifth-most points per game at 23.36. 

Benilde-St. Margaret’s, on the other hand, is hoping to win its first sole conference championship since 2014. Senior Tilly Wolfe (59 points) and junior Brooke Nelson (.557 save percentage) have led the Red Knights to eight wins in a row after falling to Lakeville South. They will look to slow down the Storm’s offensive attack, which has scored more than 10 goals in 10 games.

Both teams have been battle-tested earlier in the season after facing ranked opponents. While this game will be a significant factor in determining a conference champion, both Chanhassen and Benilde-St. Margaret’s will have one conference game to play after this matchup.

Stillwater vs. Edina

5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26

In a nonconference matchup to end the regular season, Stillwater (9-2) travels to play Edina (10-1) in what looks to be a game of a strong defense against a strong offense.

Led by seniors Allison Carle (24 forced turnovers) and Hannah Beard (.583 save percentage), the Ponies’ defense has been strong all season. Stillwater has played six games in which they have held opponents to less than five goals and are fifth in the state in forced turnovers with 183. Carle is one of seven Ponies with at least 10 forced turnovers this season.

Coming into the week with an eight-game winning streak, the Hornets have a high-flying offense with 10 or more goals in 10 games. Led by Cordelia Flemming (38 goals, 50 points), Edina has six players with at least 15 goals and 20 points this season. As a team, the Hornets are sixth in both goals per game and points per game.

It is also another game featuring two of the state’s top teams as Edina and Stillwater were fourth and seventh, respectively, in the Minnesota coaches’ poll rankings May 16. It will be the Hornets’ fifth game against a ranked opponent and the Ponies’ fourth.

Lakeville South vs. Blake

5:30 p.m., Thursday, May 26

This late-season meeting features two top-10 preseason teams heading in opposite directions. Lakeville South (10-1) comes into the week having won eight consecutive games and is ranked second in the Minnesota coaches’ poll May 16, whereas Blake (5-6) is looking to bounce back to preseason expectations heading into the postseason.

The Cougars have seen strong defensive play from their defensive unit, led by goalie Lindsay Wirfs. During the win streak, Lakeville South has allowed fewer than six goals in every game, and Wirfs has a .577 save percentage throughout the season. On offense, senior Brielle Fannin has the Cougars humming with her state-best 45 assists and fifth-best 76 points. Lakeville South has also scored 19 or more goals in six games this season.

The Bears began the season eighth in the preseason rankings but suffered difficult losses to five ranked opponents. Senior Erin Lee has been a bright spot for Blake in 2022, as she is sixth in the state with 50 goals and seventh with 70 points. The Bears have been two different teams in their wins and losses. When they win, Blake scores an average of 17.6 goals and allows 6.4, but when they lose, the Bears score 7.67 goals and allow 15.3.

Other games to keep an eye on

Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Hill Murray, 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 24. The Raiders and Pioneers face off in a matchup in two of the best players in the state in offense and defense. Cretin-Derham Hall's Lucia Selander has scored 60 goals, good for second most this season. Hill-Murray's Cate Kangas looks to challenge Selander, as she has the seventh-most forced turnovers in the state with 29.

St. Croix Prep vs. Visitation, 3 p.m., Thursday, May 26. Soren Barrios (50 points) looks to lead St. Croix Prep to a win to close out the regular season. Visitation and Camden Wright (30 goals) are playing for revenge after losing to St. Croix Prep 11-10 May 6.

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