Rebuilding season in store for boys lacrosse team


It’s a bit of a rebuilding season for the Park Wolfpack boys' lacrosse team. The Wolfpack must replace both starting goalies, their top two leading scorers and 12 other seniors from a year ago. Coach Gavin Foote is also mostly sidelined as his work schedule this season will prevent him from attending many games.
There’s still a Foote running the show, however, as Matt Foote returns for his 15th season with the Wolfpack.
“He wants to come back,” Matt said of Gavin. “He’s going to poke his head in from time to time and make sure that we’re doing our job.”
Park went 6-9 overall last season and just 2-7 in the rugged Suburban East Conference, finishing tied for eighth. The Wolfpack had trouble stopping offenses last season, giving up an average of 10 goals a game.
It was a bit of a ying-yang season, however. In the section playoffs, Park blasted Simley 19-2 in the first round only to lose 22-2 to Eagan in the quarterfinals.
Senior Brendan Bloedel led the Park offense, scoring 27 goals and 12 assists in 13 games. Senior Christopher Wilson scored 20 goals with 11 assists, junior Angelo Cullen had 18 goals and 5 assists, and ninth grader Bradley Johnson finished with 14 goals and 5 assists.
Seniors Braden Karnitz and Colton Porter split the duties in goal, with Karnitz having the better go of it with a 4-3 record and allowing 5.97 goals a game.
“We are young,” said coach Foote. “We graduated 16 seniors last year. So, this year I believe we have nine seniors. And I believe there are seven of them on the varsity squad this year. So, we are going to be young. It’s all about growth this year, that’s our focus, growth and get these kids experience.
“We have a lot of athletic ability, they’re very good athletes,” Foote continued. “A lot of them are new to the program and new to lacrosse so I think it’s just going to be time, learning the game.”
The coaching staff has a lot of high hopes for sophomore attacker Bradley Johnson this season.
“I’m going to put a lot of pressure on him, I know that he can do it,” said Foote.
Cullen, now a senior attacker, will be another key player for the Wolfpack this spring.
“We have a lot of really talented midfielders that are just coming into their own,” said Foote, naming sophomore captain Sam Reckinger.
Another sophomore, Gavin Sand, will play in the net. “Definitely not afraid of the ball. He has got very good hands. Quick. It’s just going to take a little bit of time to work with him. A little bit of patience.”
The strength of this year’s team should be its defense. “We have all returners. They’re a great group of kids that have been playing together for a long time,” said Foote. “Our attack is definitely a strength. I think our weakness if going to be a little bit of depth on midfield. We do have some younger kids that are coming up. Evan Foote is one of them, he’s a ninth grader. He’s going to play a crucial role for us. We have Blake Bestler who is a senior and then Sam Reckinger. So, we have some good talent we just need to get the other kids, the depth, to learn the game.”
Woodbury and Stillwater are again expected to be the top teams in the Suburban East Conference. Stillwater won the conference last season at 9-0 with Woodbury finishing at 8-1.
Park takes on Holy Family Catholic in its season opener Saturday, April 13 in a game at White Bear Lake High School – north campus, starting at 11:30 a.m. Park hosts Mounds View on Wednesday, April 17, starting at 5:30 p.m.