Wolfpack girls hold on for lacrosse victory

By John Molene
Posted 5/22/24

A four-goal lead with just under 10 minutes to play seemed safe enough for the Park Wolfpack Wednesday night in Cottage Grove.

It almost wasn’t. Park had to dig deep to hold off a …

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Wolfpack girls hold on for lacrosse victory

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A four-goal lead with just under 10 minutes to play seemed safe enough for the Park Wolfpack Wednesday night in Cottage Grove.

It almost wasn’t. Park had to dig deep to hold off a fast-finishing Cretin-Derham Hall team, eventually winning an 8-7 thriller.

The Wolfpack led from start to finish Wednesday, jumping out to a quick 3-0 lead, but the visiting regrouped and battled Park tenaciously the rest of the way. The Raiders won the fourth quarter and came close to sending the game into overtime.

“We almost gave it to them, we almost gave it to them,” said Park head coach Scott Leonard. “Eight-four going into the fourth and it got a little hairy there. The girls started getting a little comfortable and a little panicked, I think. Kids start screaming, the bench and the fans start screaming. The adrenaline gets going and affects them a little bit.

“The first two and a half quarters we played, we played excellent,” Leonard continued. “I thought it was the best lacrosse we’ve played. We got in the sets we wanted. We were able to run a little clock and save our legs because we had the long night last Friday and we didn’t want a repeat of that, run out of gas. Then almost all of our sets in the first half worked and we had a nice one to start the third We hadn’t run that one in a while and it kind of hit perfect.”

Coming off a grueling five-overtime win over East Ridge five days prior; more overtime periods were the last thing Park wanted Wednesday night.

Down 8-4 entering the fourth quarter, Cretin scored three straight goals to close to within a game-tying score. But the Wolfpack successfully played keep-a-way over the final four and a half minutes to come out with the win.

“I think we got a little too comfortable after we were winning a lot and I feel our team got too comfortable with it, and we just started arguing stuff and it just went downhill from there,” said leading scorer Madi Brinkman. “The goal (at the end) was to win the draw and go down and stall, just keep the ball in their end and not let them get the ball but we – the draws were not going well , the calls weren’t going our way and we just had to keep our heads up.”

In the postgame talks, Park coaches had to remind the players that they had indeed won the game.

“Good teams find a way to win,” one of the Park coaches said. And indeed, that was exactly right.

And it was a big win for the Wolfpack. When the dust settled Park improved 7-1 in the conference and 9-1 overall, a win off the pace set by league-leading Stillwater. Cretin dropped to 6-3 on the season and 7-5 overall.

“I think we did well on the offensive side,” said junior attacker Ava Reckinger. “We moved the ball around and we scored. And then for defense, I felt our slides were really good and we were talking to each other out there and I felt we held strong to the end. Not so well, I just feel like toward the end our energy was a little low, so we just need to keep picking each other up.”

Brinkman again led Park in scoring, slamming in five scores and adding an assist. Josie Leonard had a goal and an assist. Lilly Newhouse had Park’s other goal.

Winning goaltender Lauryn Ehrenstrom had seven saves.

Park 14, Rochester Mayo 1

Park had one of its most lopsided wins of the season with a 14-1 win at Rochester Mayo in a non-conference girls lacrosse battle Saturday.

Park had previously beaten Mounds View 13-2, Forest Lake 14-1, Roseville 15-4, Irondale 17-4 and St. Paul/Two Rivers 16-2.

The Wolfpack improved to 10-1 on the season.

Park wraps up the regular season Wednesday, May 22, with a non-conference game at Apple Valley (2-8).