By STUART GROSKREUTZ
COON RAPIDS – Dana Almquist continued her torrid scoring pace while delivering eight goals and an assist in Stillwater’s 18-7 nonconference girls’ lacrosse victory over Centennial on Thursday night.
The Ponies (11-2) have won seven straight games to close out the regular season. Seedings for the Section 4 tournament are expected to be announced Friday afternoon with section play beginning on Monday. Stillwater is a strong candidate to receive the No. 1 seed and a bye into Wednesday’s quarterfinals.
"We wanted to end the season on a high note and Centennial is always a competitive team," Stillwater coach Rick Reidt said.
Almquist has scored eight goals in four of the last five games and leads the Ponies with 67 goals this season. She notched six goals in the first half on Thursday to help boost Stillwater to a 12-1 halftime lead.
"Our team started the game ready to play and did a great job in the first half," Reidt said. "We totally outplayed Centennial and really did the things we’ve been practicing all season long."
Kate Sheely added three goals for the Ponies while Katie Casto and Remi Larson added two goals apiece.
Stillwater remained in control through much of the game, although the Cougars scored four in a row during a brief stretch late in the second half.
The Ponies were missing a few regulars, including Maggie Corman – who is out with a leg injury – but others stepped in or moved around to fill in nicely, the coach suggested.
"We have a couple players out with injuries and we’re just trying to figure out our injuries and filling in spots," Reidt said. "Sydney Evensen switched the defense and played some valuable minutes there and Erin Dougherty played significant minutes and had a real solid game at attack."
Natalie Bourman-Karns filled in for Corman and freshman Carter Sanderson continues to make an impact while joining Emma Wiessner and Savanna Handevidt with a goal each.
"Sanderson played significant minutes and has a lot of lacrosse skills that can help us out in the next few games," Reidt said. "Handevidt had one of her best games of the year and actually scored a goal. She just played real strong and is the leader of our defense. Another girl that has improved is Remi Larson with her ability to take an accurate shot and get a goal."
Marie Bonine stopped three of 10 shots in goal for the Ponies.
Goals – St, Dana Almquist 8, Kate Sheely 3, Katie Casto 2, Remi Larson 2, Emma Wiessner, Savanna Handevidt and Carter Sanderson; Cen, Kaitlyn Armstrong 3, Michaela Schwartz 2, Kailey Colvard and Dezera Sieracki.
Assists – St, Almquist.
Saves – St, Marie Bonine 3; Cen, Alicia Georgi 3 and Sydney Hudzinski 1.