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home : sports : sports
August 17, 2022

6/6/2022 4:40:00 PM
Wildcats wrap up Greater West Metro title with dominating win

Chisago Lakes 23  Big Lake 0
In the final conference matchup, the Chisago Lakes boys lacrosse team won huge over Big Lake to defend their Greater West Metro conference championship 23-0. 

The 10-3 Wildcats got scoring from eight different players including freshman Ben Kerkow, who put in five goals. “Benny K's pretty shifty around the net and Big Lake couldn't keep track of him,” Head Coach Mark Nordby said. Also scoring five goals was senior Jake Willman. “Jake has been working on a quicker overhead release and it paid off in this game,” Nordby added.

Getting hat tricks for the ‘Cats were senior Henry Reedy, plus juniors Dylan Dassner and Hunter Haus. The Wildcats outscored conference opponents 71-11 this season to wrap up their second straight title.

St. Michael-Albertville 11,  Chisago Lakes 9
One day after traveling to Big Lake, the Wildcats boarded a bus and headed to St. Michael-Albertville for a tough game against the perennial power.

“St. Michael plays in a strong conference and regularly sees some of the best teams in the state,” Nordby explained. “We knew this was going to be a great game.”

Coach Nordby's words lived up to the hype.  The Wildcats seemed in control early getting on the scoreboard first with a goal from Willman. His goal came off a solo dodge from behind the net where he split two defenders right at the goal line and found the back of the net.

A few minutes later,  Reedy fed Willman a beauty pass to get the ‘Cats second goal of the evening. 

St. Michael was in a zone defense and the Wildcats took advantage of that.  The following goal touched six different players on a fast break before being buried by  Reedy right in front of the net.

“That's great team lacrosse. It all started with a nice save by Zaruba and then quickly passed through the sticks of Haus, West, Bergquist, Helland to a dunk shot by Reedy,” Nordby said excitedly. 

Going into halftime, the Wildcats had a 5-3 lead.

Reedy got the scoring going for Chisago Lakes in the third quarter with a solo dodge from behind the net. The Knights seemed to leave Reedy alone and thought he was going to pass it, and the senior took full advantage of the space they gave him.

Chisago Lakes seemed in control of the game at one point going up 8-4 but lacrosse is a game of momentum and the Knights caught fire in the fourth quarter.

STMA started attacking with midfielders Ethan Buskey and Josh Tourville, who each had four goals on the night.
“We just couldn't contain Ethan Buskey,” Nordby said frankly. “We tried various defensive tactics on him and he just scored at will with his sweeps across the top or down the left.  He had the quickest release in a shot we've seen this season.” 

In the final quarter, the Knights kept scoring while keeping the ‘Cats off the scoreboard until Max Olson buried a hard, jumping shot from eight yards out.

But, by then, Chisago Lakes had to go into a very aggressive defense to try and strip the ball which left them vulnerable around the goal.

“We had to go after the ball but it left the lanes wide open as STMA went into a very spread out open set,” the coach said.

The final was 11-9 with STMA getting the win. “Credit STMA for coming back on us,” Nordby said. “Looking back now, we probably should have switched a long pole defender on Buskey so that's on us as coaches. STMA's definitely a quality team. We learned a lot tonight which will help as we enter section play.”

Chisago Lakes 15   Forest Lake 4
On a beautiful Thursday evening, playing on a brand new Forest Lake turf field, the Wildcats took on the Rangers in a matchup of Section 7 teams and rebounded from their loss to STMA.

“We know a lot of the Forest Lake players and coaches so it's always a good time playing against your closest neighboring school,” Nordby said after the contest.

Reedy got Chisago Lakes rolling 40 seconds into the game on a backdoor cut and goal assisted by Willman. 

About two minute later, junior defender Nate Bluhm brought the ball out of the ‘Cats end and scampered up the field to drill a shot past the goalie. Defensive coach Mike Marx noted that it's always great to see a defender get a goal. 

Just 12 seconds later, Reedy put in another goal off a pass from faceoff specialist Mason Mehsikomer.  The ‘Cats were in complete control, sharing the ball and assisting each other throughout the game.

Just before halftime, Mehsikomer took a hard stick check to his unprotected right forearm and was out for the remainder of the game.

"In a faceoff, there's always a lot of stick checks and hard battles for the ball. That one caught Mason between his pads so it was pretty painful,” Nordby said. The ‘Cats backup faceoff specialist, WIll Dauffenbach, filled in for most of the rest of the game and CL barely missed a beat. “Will has been getting some good reps in and is so smart about faceoffs. He analyzes what moves the opponent uses and adjusts,” Nordby commented.

The Wildcats cruised to the victory against Forest Lake in a team centered way. They scored 15 goals and 13 of them were assisted.

“It just shows the unselfish makeup of this team,” Nordby said. “They know that the most important stat is the final score.”

Chisago Lakes was playing without several key players who were sidelined with injuries including Kaden Melin, Hunter Haus and sophomore Dain Gibson. "We've had a busy two weeks with six games in eleven days including four of them on the road. The guys are a bit banged up and tired so it'll be good to have a long weekend to get healed."

Before the weekend, Chisago Lakes was seeded second in Section 7, granting them home field for the quarterfinals game. 

Coach Nordby is hoping for a huge home crowd. "We love playing in front of our fans. We're hoping a bunch of young lacrosse players and students come to watch what Wildcat lacrosse is all about.,” he said.   Game time is set for 7 pm on Thursday and they’ll rematch against Forest Lake, who is seeded seventh, on June 2 at Chisago Lakes High School Stadium.

Centennial, who was 11-2 on the year, drew the top seed in the section.

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