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Still growing

By Star Tribune, 04/08/13, 11:38PM CDT


Expanded state boys and girls tournaments is top story line heading into 2013 season

Eastview's Ryan McNamara (8) and teammates ran drills at McMurray Field in St. Paul last week. The Lightning aims to defend its 2012 title. Star Tribune photo

1. State tourney doubles
Expansion is a word lacrosse coaches don’t mind hearing. The state tournament (both boys and girls) will double in size this year as the field increases from four to eight teams. The number of teams playing at the MSHSL level has continued to increase. The number of boys’ teams playing has jumped from 57 to 63 this year. The number of girls’ schools participating has increased from 63 to 67.

2. Possible repeat in boys’ finale
Eastview halted Benilde-St. Margaret’s run of boys’ back-to-back state titles and will look to repeat the feat itself. The Lightning has plenty of firepower returning up front. It’s going to be a matter of how players develop on defense and in goal. Eastview beat Eden Prairie 10-4 in last year’s finale to mark the fourth time the Eagles have finished as the runner-up. They never have won the championship.

3. Girls’ power remains
All six girls’ state championships have pitted Blake against Eden Prairie. That isn’t expected to change in season No. 7. Three-time reigning champion Blake is the overwhelming preseason favorite, followed by Lake Conference power Eden Prairie. The Bears have won four state titles (2008, ’10, ’11 and ’12), while the Eagles have been crowned champion twice (2007 and ’09).

-- Ron Haggstrom

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