Despite making the state tournament last year, the Anoka boys lacrosse team didn’t end the season as it would have liked. The Tornadoes went 1-2 in the state bracket after entering at 15-1.
Many teams wouldn’t mind finishing their season 16-3, but Anoka still feels like it has something to prove this season.
“Last year we made it (to state), but didn’t exactly do as well as we wanted to,” head coach Brad Sundem said. “I think that’s definitely a goal is to make it back there. We obviously have to play one game at a time. But the long term goal is to make it there. With all the seniors we got, I think they’d love to have another go at it before their time here is done.”
The Tornadoes are no doubt a senior-heavy team. Sundem said 80-85 percent of the guys he plays are seniors. Most of those seniors have been on the varsity roster since they were sophomores.
The team is as experienced as they come, and the record shows it. As of May 16, Anoka is 8-1 with its only loss coming to undefeated Maple Grove.
Anoka’s offense has been hot all season, scoring 10 or more goals in every win. The Tornadoes have allowed five or less goals in five of their games.
“Offensively, Ollie (Nigh) has been our go-to guy for our last four years,” Sundem said. “All of our attackmen right now, Preston Olson and Chandler Foerster and Jack Savini, all those guys have been a huge key in our offense. Defensively, our goalie is (Mathew Jordan) and then one of our (defenders), Josh Larson, we had some injuries at the beginning of the year. He was a midfielder for us last year and we ended up moving him and he’s just been awesome. He’s been absolutely awesome for us and has exceeded what we intended or needed him to do.”
Nigh has a team-high 27 goals and has added six assists. Olson has 24 goals and 12 assists, Savini has 19 goals and four assists and Foerster totals 18 goals and six assists.
Zach Weigman adds 17 total points and Luke Billehus has 14.
Jordan has picked up 68 saves in the net with a save percentage of .576.
The Tornadoes are in a similar position they were in a season ago with just one loss. With the talent returning, Sundem said he expected this kind of season. Now it’s a matter of continuing to get better as the postseason approaches.
“I knew that we definitely had the talent to go undefeated,” Sundem said. “I think there’s a handful of teams in our conference, if they come to play and get the best out of their guys, I think there’s a couple teams in our conference that can go undefeated. Maple Grove has proven to be that team. But as far as having only one loss, I’m not surprised by it. I’d say we’re right on track where I would have wanted us to be.”