Under a rainy and stormy sky, the Wayzata High School’s boys lacrosse team took on Lakeville North on Saturday, June 14 at Chaska High School.
Because of the rainy and extremely windy weather, only but a few diehard fans and family sat in the bleachers, trying their best to keep an eye on the game while trying to keep their umbrellas from turning inside-out.
On the field, it was Wayzata who got off to the best start, and Lakeville North was forced to play catch-up. Despite the fact that both teams displayed a quick and aggressive offense, rain and saggy mesh resulted in a high number of passing errors. The resulting duels for ground balls was fierce and pretty equal in terms of possessions, but the Trojans from Wayzata were able to take advantage of their outside shooting skills while Lakeville repeatedly tried to force their way inside through brute physical power, something Wayzata’s defense was able to prevent. At the end of the first quarter, dominated by turnovers and ground ball battles, the Trojans led the Panthers 3-1.
Fortunately for both players and fans, the rain abated and eventually disappeared as the second quarter progressed. On the field, Wayzata was able to continue their up-tempo game, taking control, and forcing the Panthers into playing an increasingly defensive game. This played well to the Trojans’ strengths of speed and shooting, and allowed them to move the ball through X at their own pace until a good shooting opportunity presented itself. By the time halftime was called, the Trojans were up 6-1.
The halftime break did not appear to have a regrouping effect on the Panthers, rather, the players appeared to have lost their desire to win as a team. This resulted in a long succession of solo plays on Wayzata’s goal, instead of a team-wide offensive strategy. Unfortunately for the Panthers, who had several shots on goal, Trojan’s defense was too strong and the shots fired on goal were either deflected by Wayzata’s goalie, or knocked down by their defense, save for one, which made the Panthers’ fans roar.
Neither did Wayzata do much to capitalize on the seeming disarray showed by the Panthers’ offense. They had several good shooting opportunities, and moved the ball well amongst themselves, but the Panthers’ defense and goalie stopped all but one shot on goal, and the third quarter ended with a score of 7-2.
Having perhaps seen that they could score against Wayzata, the Panthers came back with a vengeance in the fourth quarter. Their confidence buoyed, the Lakeville boys started playing as a team again, and they started scoring. Having pressure put on them by the Panthers, the Trojans embraced the challenge and went to work to make sure they would win the State Boys Lacrosse third place title.
Finally, the game provided some entertainment for the fans, as both teams now were playing competitive lacrosse again. It became obvious that both teams possessed lots of talented offensive and defensive players, because they now played like the teams that had brought them the long way, through their own Sections, playing in snow and sleet early in the regular season, to the third-place game of the State Tournament.
When it was all said and done, Wayzata captured a convincing third-place win over Lakeville North by a score of 11-6.
One is left to wonder if the Panthers are saying “if only …”. But then, there is always next year!
Additional pictures can be found at Pro-Sport Pictures.