Overtime goal knocks girls lacrosse team out

By John Molene
Posted 6/12/24

For the second time in a week, a Park team that was good enough to go to state fell just short. On May 30 it was the Wolfpack softball team that missed the cut. On Wednesday night, it was the Park …

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Overtime goal knocks girls lacrosse team out

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For the second time in a week, a Park team that was good enough to go to state fell just short.
On May 30 it was the Wolfpack softball team that missed the cut.
On Wednesday night, it was the Park girls' lacrosse team which was sidelined.
A Park team that had lost only once this season and tied for a second consecutive Suburban East Conference championship was knocked out of the Section 3A lacrosse girls' tournament, losing a 7-6 heartbreaker to visiting Woodbury with 2:09 remaining in the second three minutes of overtime.
Park’s all-state forward Madi Brinkman had dramatically tied the game at 6-all with 10 seconds left in regulation and seemed to have momentum. But Brinkman was briefly knocked out of the game with leg cramps on her first trip down the field in overtime. A few minutes later the Royals punched in the game winner in the second three-minute overtime period.
Park fell behind quickly out of the gate, trailing 3-0 and then 4-1, battled back to tie the game at 6-all with 10 seconds left, only to lose in the dramatic overtime.
It was the second straight season the Wolfpack lost in the Section 3 semifinals.
The fifth-seeded Royals advanced to the section finals and a date against third-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall. Cretin upset second-seeded East Ridge 9-6 in the other section semifinal to gain the finals. In Thursday’s Class 3A finals, Cretin-Derham Hall outscored Woodbury 12-9 to advance to the state meet. The Raiders drew a random seed and were matched with top-seeded Lakeville South in the quarterfinals.
Park ended a stirring season with a 13-2 record.
It was a bitter ending for a Wolfpack team which dropped Woodbury 12-8 just 16 days previously.
“Just overall how impressed I was with their ability to work and come out every day and get better,” said head coach Scott Leonard when asked what he told the team after the game. “As I’ve told you we weren’t sure what we were going to have at the beginning of the year. I thought we could be a middle of the pack team, could be atop the conference. They did a lot of great things that I wasn’t sure was going to come out. It was fun to see.
“A lot of teams, after Shelby Hansen graduated (64 goals as a senior in 2023) – could have (said) ah we don’t have Shelby anymore, but these girls wanted to fight the whole season,” Leonard continued. “It was a great season.”
The Royals got off to a fast start, leading 3-0 after one quarter, 4-1 and then 6-2 with five minutes left in the second quarter. The normally steady Wolfpack looked out of sorts for most of the first half.
But Park turned it around. After falling behind 6-2, the Wolfpack tightened up the defense and held the Royals to a single goal for the next 32 minutes.
“Tonight we spotted them a lead with some things we don’t normally do on defense,” said Leonard. “Second held we held them to one goal until overtime. They fought back, fought right until the very end there. Tied the game up with 10 seconds.”
Brinkman started finding holes in the Woodbury defense despite often being double teamed. Brinkman scored her fourth straight goal to cut Woodbury’s lead to 6-4 with 3:06 to play in the third quarter.
Josie Leonard scored to cut Woodbury’s lead to 6-5 at the end of the third period.
Woodbury finally scored again after a long drought to lead 7-5, but Park’s Alaina Wright scored to make it a 7-6 game with 1:06 left. That set the stage for Brinkman to power in her fourth goal of the game with just 10 seconds remaining.
In the first overtime, Brinkman won the draw and charged down the field, only to suffer leg cramps and was down for several minutes behind the Woodbury goal. She was able to walk off and after a brief moment on the sideline returned. Neither team scored in the first three-minute overtime period.
But Woodbury got the ball in the second three-minute overtime and scored to end it. The tears, pain and sadness among the Park players were all that remained.
Brinkman finished with five goals and two assists. Leonard had a goal and an assist, Wright scored Park’s other tally and Maleah McMorrow had one assist.
Park will have a very strong nucleus coming back next season led by Brinkman, Leonard, McMorrow, Kyra Stofer, Hollen Thompson, Sidni Gitzen, Lexi Sullivan, Alaina Wright and goalies Lauryn Ehrenstrom and Aubree Laska. But will have to find replacements for senior standouts such as Ava Reckinger, Sam Miller, Lilly Newhouse and Tori Henderson.
As Park coach Leonard told the team after the game, those players won back-to-back conference championships and went 26-4 the last two seasons. Next season the Wolfpack will be looking for more.