Eden Prairie and Wayzata battle for the a place in The Game

It was a lacrosse game that promised to have everything when Eden Prairie and Wayzata met on Thursday, June 12th at the Chanhassen High School stadium, to see which team would go on to the play in the MN Boys State Championship.

Even during warmups, it became clear that this was not going to be a game which dragged on quarter after quarter. Both teams were excited to be in the State semifinals, and both wanted to go all the way. Eden Prairie to repeat last year’s performance, and Wayzata to, perhaps be the team that dethroned the champions.

Once the face was taken, both teams fought hard to gain possession of the ball, and several exciting ground-ball contests took place. Although both teams had scoring opportunities, each team had fielded great defensive players, and it was not until later in the first quarter when Eden Prairie’s junior attackman, Sean Patterson scored the game’s first goal. Two minutes later, with a man up, Wayzata returned the favor, and barely a minute later, Wayzata scored for the second time, following the interception of an Eden Prairie pass and taking the lead 2-1. With 4.03 left in the first quarter, JD Spielman lets go a rocket of a low-to-high shot from about 20 feet out go, tying the game at 2-2. With 58 seconds left in the quarter, Eden Prairie senior, Charlie Venable rips one into the Wayzata net, and Eden Prairie now leads 3-2. With 15 seconds left in the quarter, Eden Prairie scored again on a beautiful give-and-go from Venable to junior Nic Perkins who was almost right in front of the net, increasing their lead to 4-2. Not wanting their fans to think that they were down and out, Wayzata came roaring back, scoring before the quarter was over, and bringing the score to 4-3.

Both teams were battling for control of the ball as it moved from one team to the other, up and down the field, and the fans were clearly getting into the game, cheering loudly for their teams. And while the score steadily climbed with Eden Prairie leading with a goal,  it was Wayzata’s junior attackman, Charlie Chermak who tied the game 7-7 on a nice give-and-go with 7 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was once again dominated by each team’s offences who moved the ball aggressively for an opportunity to shoot, but time and again, they came to naught. With barely time left on the clock, Eden Prairie regained control of the ball and was able to get off two rockets at the goal, but Wayzata’s goalie was stellar and deflected both of them. And then, the time ran out ….

Wayzata had the early possession as overtime got under way and got off four or five shots on goal, but all of them went wide. The fans were now hanging on the edge of their seats, chanting for their teams to give it just a little more and putting the game to bed. Eden Prairie was able to gain control of a ground ball with 1.47 left in overtime and called a time out. With 47 seconds left on the clock, Eden Prairie’s attackman, JD Spielman literally forced his way through several Wayzata defensive players and ripped off a shot, which ended in the net, and Eden Prairie advanced to the Championship game on Saturday, June 14th at 7.00pm at Chanhassen High School. Wayzata will play for the third place on Saturday, June 14th at 1.00 pm at Chanhassen High School.

Truly, this was one of the best high school lacrosse games I have seen in a while. These kids all wanted to move on to the Championship round, and it was easy to tell. If the first half could be described as a game of extremely strong defenses, the two last were defined by speed and aggressive offenses. To me, this is what good lacrosse is all about. Speed and finesse, low penalties and aggressive offenses and defenses. Best of all, the teams are able to look their opponents in the eye and get the respect for having played a great game.

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