6/17/2022 12:26:00 PM 'Cats fall just short of state
Chisago Lakes 16, Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids 5 If Chisago Lakes was nervous in their section semifinals match up against Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids to start, the nerves quickly vanished in the second quarter as the ‘Cats piled on the Panthers in what ended up being a 16-5 victory on Tuesday, June 7.
Spring Lake Park, the third seed in Section 7, actually grabbed an early lead at 3-2 and then scored a goal with under four seconds left in the first quarter to hold a 4-2 lead over the second-seeded Wildcats after one.
But, the Wildcats rattled off 13 straight goals in the second and third quarters to turn a close game into a quick blowout. SLP only answered with one late goal, but the ‘Cats added another for the final of 16-5.
The offensive outburst in the middle parts of the game were feuled by Henry Reedy, Jake Willman, Nick Helland, Maddox Olson and Kadin Melin.
Reedy and Willman each had four goals, Helland had three and Olson and Melin each had a pair. Olson, Melin and Willman also combined for 10 assists.
The win moved Chisago Lakes on to face Centennial in the Section 7 championship game on Thursday, June 9. The ‘Cats ended the Cougars season in the semifinals last year, so CL knew Centennial would have revenge on their mind.
In a Section 7 matchup of the #2 Wildcats versus the #1 Cougars of Centennial, the Cougars proved too much for the Wildcats as the hosts won 14-7. "We knew they were a good team but they proved why they were the number one seed and why their regular season record was stellar."
Senior captain, Colten Berguist, as he's done several times this year, got the Wildcats on the board first with a dodge to his right, blowing past two defenders and draining the ball. Centennial then got two subsequent goals before the Wildcat's attackman, Kaden Melin sliced one past the goalie on with the assist going to Nick Helland. At the end of the first quarter, the game was all square with two goals each. "We felt pretty good about our first quarter. We missed on some shots but overall, the feeling was. 'We can do this.'"
The Cougars flexed their muscles in the 2nd quarter behind NCAA D1 Recruits Noah Berger and Sam Rodriguez scoring several. "They were a force and had us confused on defense." Centennial put in eight goals in the 2nd quarter with Chisago only putting in three. Going into halftime the score was now 5-10 with the momentum all favoring Centennial. "We talked about chipping away one goal at a time and really making every opportunity with the ball count."
Kaden Melin got things rolling in the 3rd with a loose ball scramble in front of the Cougar's goal and a quick behind-the-back score finding the upper right corner. But, each time the Wildcats scored, the Cougars answered quickly with a goal of their own. "Just when we thought momentum was swinging our way, Centennial would squash it right back down. Chisago's final goal of the game, by senior Jake Willman, came on a 2 Man-up play as two Centennial players served penalties. "We were still down by five after the 3rd quarter but thought we have been in this place before and the game was not over yet."
In the fourth quarter, the Cougars went into a very spread out offense and held the ball for long stretches preventing the Wildcats from scoring. "We finally had to start pushing our defense out on them to try and force a turnover. We knew that opened up the scoring threat of Berger and Rodriguez but we had to try something." In the end, the Cougars put in two more goals for the final of 7-14 and advancing to the MSHSL State Championship. "They were the better team on this night. We made some unusual mental errors and Centennial they took full advantage of them."
The Wildcats ended their season with a 12-4 record and runner-up finish in Section 7. "We had a really solid season and played some outstanding team lacrosse for much it."