By STUART GROSKREUTZ – Stillwater Gazette
OAK PARK HEIGHTS – The Stillwater boys’ lacrosse team wrapped up second place in the Suburban East Conference standings with Monday’s 17-5 victory over Hastings at Stillwater Area High School.
The Ponies, who outscored Hastings 12-1 in the second and third quarters, finished 7-1 in league play and 9-4 overall – with their only conference loss against SEC champion White Bear Lake (8-0 SEC, 11-1).
Stillwater has scored 17 goals in each of its past three games and will carry a five-game winning streak into the Section 4 tournament, which is slated to begin on Tuesday.
"We took care of business, got the win and kept people healthy," Ponies coach Travis Sanders said.
Senior Night got off to a sluggish start for the Ponies as Hastings jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Stillwater answered with four straight goals to close out the opening quarter and built a 10-4 halftime lead behind the scoring of Sam Sagissor, Nolan Rinta and Sam Mathieu.
The Ponies didn’t let up while outscoring Hastings 6-0 in the third quarter and extending the lead to 16-4.
Sagissor led Stillwater with four goals while Rinta and Mathieu added three goals apiece.
"We struggled and let a couple in," Sanders said of the slow start. "We were trying to do things individually rather than as a team, but the game was under control at halftime and in the third we really had a great quarter.
"The game probably ended up the way it should have, but it took a while for us to get to that."
Mathieu’s third goal provided the 200th point of his varsity career and goaltender Jeff Burridge also matched the school record for victories in a season with his ninth – matching the team-high set by Ryan Freeman in 2008.
Burridge made six saves during the first three quarters before Zach Shockency replaced him for the fourth.
Charlie Register and Cody Holsten contributed two goals apiece for the Ponies while Robby Reiter, Zach Wittl and Mitchell Caywood added a goal each.
Seedings for the Section 4 tournament will be announced on Friday.
Goals – St, Sam Sagissor 4, Nolan Rinta 3, Sam Mathieu 3, Charlie Register 2, Cody Holsten 2, Robby Reiter, Zach Wittl and Mitchell Caywood.
Assists – St, Chris Rick 2, Sagissor and Alex Siedow.
Saves – St, Jeff Burridge 6 and Zach Shockency 1.