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Bears notch name in the title game yet again

By Justin Magill, MN Lax Hub staff, 06/13/13, 1:15AM CDT


Blake beats Stillwater to advance to the state title game for seventh straight year

Does winning ever get old?

"No, not at all," Blake coach Laura Marks said. "Especially this time of the year."

Late spring has been kind to the Bears over the years. Wins have come in bunches, which includes four state titles and three in a row.

Blake will go for its fourth straight after a 13-8 victory against Stillwater in the state semifinals on Thursday, June 13 at Chaska High School.

Along with their longtime rivals, Eden Prairie, it is almost a guarantee to pencil the Bears into the state title game.

"I think people expect us to be in the championship game with Eden Prairie," Bears' junior Lydia Sutton said. "You just have to continue to play your best because you are going to get the best from each team you play."

Blake has not been a team to crack under the enormous pressure and expectations of not only making it to the state title game but winning it.

With most teams in the state improving in girls' lacrosse, Blake has done so, too. 

"We are playing a lot of good teams like Stillwater," Sutton said. "They are another great team that we have had to play against to get here, and right now I think we have thrived in playing games like this and we have played well in games where pressure might be on us."

Blake found a way to shut down one of the state's best scorers, Dana Almquist, for the second straight time it has played the Ponies. Almquist scored once in the teams' regular season meeting. Her name couldn't be found on the scoresheet the second time.

"You just have to have somebody on her at all times," Mark said. "She is a great player and you have to face guard her the whole time."

While Stillwater has to continued to find ways to score without Almquist, Blake is able to spread the wealth with the talented scorers it has up and down its roster.

Sutton scored three times, but contributions also came from Olivia Nolan, who also scored three goals, Nicole Kozlak and Annie Lyman, who each had two.

Role players always have played an integral part of the Bears' success in the state tournament because players with the caliber of Sutton might not get as many scoring chances. Limiting the chances of opponents' best players is often at the forefront of every postseason gameplan.

"I tell all of our players that it doesn't matter if you score a lot of goals or not, you might find yourself in a spot where you get a lot of chances," Mark said. "Lydia (Sutton) is going to be covered, and we all know that. We need others to step up and over the years, we have seen that from our team.

"Lacrosse is a complete team sport and we need our team to play like that to win."

Since the Minnesota State High School League sanctioned girls lacrosse, Blake has been in every championship game. It will be there again with a chance to etch another mark in its book.

"That's all you can ask for," Sutton said. "It's just a great feeling to be there again."

Summary, Statistics

Game Recap

Blake advanced to the state championship game for the seventh straight season with a 13-8 victory against Stillwater on Thursday, June 13 at Chaska High School.

Lydia Sutton and Olivia Newton each scored three goals for the Bears.

They weren't the only Bears to chip in as Blake used a balanced attack to defeat the Ponies, as Annie Lyman and Jordan Chancellor each scored twice as well.

Katherine Sheely led Stillwater with three goals.

Blake contained the Ponies' most prolific scorer, Dana Almquist, who only scored one goal in the regular season matchup against the Bears. She was held off the scoresheet in the state semifinal matchup.

Blake will play battle for its fourth straight championship trophy on Saturday against Lakeville North at Chanhassen High School.

1. Lydia Sutton, Blake
It comes to no surprise that one of the best players in the state came up with another big performance on the big stage. The junior scored three times and was key down the stretch when the Bears needed to chew up some clock as the Ponies were trying to mount a late comeback. Sutton does more than just score. She is one of the most complete players in the state.

2. Olivia Nolan, Blake
Not many teams can match Blake's depth, and Nolan's play showed that. She equalled Sutton in the goals department with three. Two of them came in the first half, which stretched the Bears' lead to 6-1, giving them a commanding lead.

3. Katherine Sheely, Stillwater
With leading scorer Dana Almquist neutralized, the Ponoes needed a boost in scoring. Sheely provided it with three goals. When the Ponies needed a spark on offense, she was the one to go to.

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Section Playoffs

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Regular Season

Section Playoffs

State Tournament

Regular Season

Section Playoffs

State Tournament

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