For the first time this season Coon Rapids girls’ lacrosse was held to single digit goals but managed to top Blaine 8-5 to improve to 7-1 overall, 4-1 in the Northwest Suburban Conference, May 13.
The Bengals (2-3, 2-5) led 4-3 at the half before an inspiring message from Cardinals coach Jeff DeJoy translated to five second-half goals and the seventh win of the season.
“Sloppy win again, three goals in a half, that’s ridiculous,” DeJoy said. “It’s been a long time since we didn’t score double-digits. We just weren’t getting to ground balls or loose balls. We didn’t have the ball [in their end of the field] for more than five minutes and when we were down there we didn’t take advantage of our chances.”
The two-time defending Northwest Suburban Conference champions look a bit different from past years thanks to past players graduating, but still have the program’s all-time leading scorer Sammi DeJoy. She has 37 goals and six assists through seven games this spring and 245 career points (181 goals).
Losing many of the top scorers from the past season hasn’t hurt the team as much as one might think. Instead it’s created opportunities for others to step up, like Heidi Hannula and Rachel Droubie.
DeJoy leads the team with 43 points while Hannula collected a hat trick Monday to give her 30 points on the season and Droubie scored to give her 31 points but she’s the assists leader on the squad with 16. Bailey Ryan had 10 points while Megan Phillippi and Neira Begic each have nine points.
DeJoy said too much was riding on the game from a section, conference and rivalry standpoint to let the lead slip away on the team’s home field.
“It all starts with winning the draw and the second half was much better,” he said.
When asked if the close games will help the team in the end when it comes to section play, which is one-and-one, he said, “It keeps your focus better. You don’t get any lazy minds because you have to stay focused the entire time. You get that idea that you can do it, just hang in there and we did that.”
Blaine senior Jenny Chamberlain had a team-high two goals while Madison Clauson, Cassie Mely and Hailey Borja also scored in the loss. Bengals goalie Lindsay Almberg made seven saves in the loss.
Coon Rapids goalie Ali Weber made five saves for the win. DeJoy categorized Weber’s performance as one of the better efforts of the season. “She made more saves than in the past and the patience was there to make a stop.”
The lone Cardinals loss came at Maple Grove May 6 as the Crimson won the key Northwest Suburban Conference game 12-11, after leading 8-7 at the half. DeJoy and Hannula each had six points and Rachel Droubie had five points to lead the offense.
Robbinsdale Armstrong is the lone undefeated team in the NWSC and faces Coon Rapids May 25. Elk River sits in second place with one loss and faces the Cardinals May 20. Both games will be played at Cardinals Stadium.
Given the extended preseason, DeJoy said the team managed to work on big-field concepts such as transitions, defense and attack which helped the younger players learn the new concepts.