Lakeville North players celebrated after Emily Engelhart (11) scored a goal in first half action against Eden Prairie Thursday evening at Chaska High School. Photo: MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE * firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time in seven years since lacrosse has had a high school state tournament in Minnesota, there won't be a Blake-Eden Prairie championship game.
It's all thanks to a gritty, fast and feisty Lakeville North, which took down Eden Prairie 13-12 in an overtime semifinal thriller.
"This means the world. This means everything to our program. This is the huge win," head coach Mo Gaitan said.
Logan Dobratz found Makayla Kubisiak alone in front, where she rammed a shot into the net to give the Panthers a 13-12 lead with 33.6 seconds remaining in overtime.
The No. 1 ranked Eagles charged back and rung one off the post to try to tie it in the dying seconds, but their streak of seven consecutive championship appearances would be denied.
It was an incredibly exciting, fast-paced game with highs and lows for each team.
In the season opener, Eden Prairie beat Lakeville North 16-7. The Panthers have come a long way under an entirely new coaching staff.
"We had our heart and our soul and our passion into it," Gaitan said. "We had nothing to lose. That was the game changer."
Now they have to take on the three-time defending champions.
From the opening faceoff, Blake reminded everyone why it has won three consecutive state titles and played in all seven championship games in state tournament history.
Just 22 seconds in the game, Lydia Sutton received a pass from Anne Slusser and zipped the ball into the Stillwater goal. It was the beginning of what would be a 13-8 state semifinal victory over the late-rallying Ponies at Chaska High School on Thursday night.
The goal also reminded everyone they had one of the most explosive – and smartest – players in the state to fuel their unprecedented run of success. The longtime Bear now has 55 goals on the year.
The Bears will play the winner of Thursday's other semifinal game between No. 1 seed Eden Prairie against Lakeville North.
The championship game will be at 5 p.m. Saturday at Chanhassen High School.
Blake applied defensive pressure to Stillwater's Katherine Sheely (7) as she attempted to make a shot on goal in Thursday's state tournament semifinal game at Chaska. Photo: MARLIN LEVISON/STARTRIBUNE * email@example.com