OAK PARK HEIGHTS — It was a busy and successful stretch for the Stillwater girls’ lacrosse team, which followed up nonconference victories on Friday and Saturday with a Suburban East Conference triumph over East Ridge on Monday.
The Ponies (7-0 SEC, 9-0), who join Lakeville South as the only undefeated teams in the state, have moved up to No. 2 in the state’s power rankings after Saturday’s victory over highly regarded Minnetonka.
Stillwater can wrap up at least a share of its fifth straight conference title with a victory at Forest Lake on Wednesday and host Hastings in the SEC finale on Monday.
l The Stillwater JV team is also enjoying a stellar season while improving to 9-0 with an 18-2 victory over East Ridge on Monday. The Ponies also defeated Mahtomedi 19-2 on Friday and followed that up with a 12-3 triumph over Minnetonka.
Stillwater 19, East Ridge 3
At Oak Park Heights, the Ponies used a balanced attack — including four goals apiece from Dana Almquist, Kate Sheely and Remi Larson — to cruise past East Ridge on Monday at Stillwater Area High School. Carter Sanderson added three goals for the Ponies, who jumped out to an 11-1 halftime lead.
Sanderson, Katie Casto, Sheely and Emma Wiessner each scored in the first five minutes of the first five minutes of the game to provide a 5-0 head start.
East Ridge 1 2 — 3
Stillwater 11 8 — 19
Goals — St, Dana Almquist 4, Kate Sheely 4, Remi Larson 4, Carter Sanderson 3, Katie Casto, Emma Wiessner, Maggie Corman and Ashley Ludack.
Assists — St, Sanderson, Almquist, Corman and Rachel Martell.
Saves — St, Marie Bonine 6 and Britt Pooley 3.
Stillwater 21, Minnetonka 20
At Minnetonka, facing its stiffest competition of the season to date, the Stillwater girls’ lacrosse team held off a furious rally in the final minutes to sink third-ranked Minnetonka 21-20 in Saturday’s nonconference game.
It was a signature win for the undefeated Ponies (6-0 SEC, 8-0), who are also scheduled to face top-ranked Eden Prairie and second-ranked Blake during the last week of the regular season.
“It was good for us to do well against them,” Stillwater coach Rick Reidt said. “Minnetonka is a really strong team and it was an important game for us coming into the last part of the season.”
The fourth-ranked Ponies led 21-17 on the last of Dana Almquist’s 10 goals with 5:39 remaining, but the Skippers closed the gap with three straight to pull within 21-20 with 1:14 remaining. Stillwater regained momentum after Remi Larson controlled the draw and the Ponies were able to maintain possession to close out the game.
“They never got the ball back because Remi got the ball and was able to control it,” Reidt said. “We needed every draw that we won and we needed every goal that we scored. Everybody played a big role in the game.”
Almquist caught fire in the second half while scoring four times in the first four minutes to give the Ponies a 15-9 lead. Stillwater led by as many seven goals midway through the second half, but the Skippers scored four straight goals in less than 45 seconds to climb back within 17-14.
Emma Wiessner responded for the Ponies with a goal at 11:51 to slow down Minnetonka temporarily. Kate Sheely, who finished with four goals, and Almquist scored less than a minute part to give Stillwater a 21-17 lead with more than five minutes remaining.
“Wiessner played great defense as a midfielder and scored three goals, one that stopped Minnetonka’s run,” Reidt said. “She really kept us in the game on the defensive side.”
Those contributions were especially needed after Katie Casto left the game with an ankle injury early in the second half. Natalie Bourman-Karns also played a key factor defensively, including a charge that she drew against Minnetonka’s top player Holly Korn.
“She just controlled the ball on defense late in the game and was very active,” Reidt said.
Marie Bonine finished with 12 saves in goal for the Ponies.
Stillwater 10 11 — 21
Minnetonka 8 12 — 20
Goals — St, Dana Almquist 10, Kate Sheely 4, Emma Wiessner 3, Maggie Corman 2, Katie Casto and Carter Sanderson.
Assists — St, Sheely.
Saves — St, Marie Bonine 12.
Stillwater 20, Mahtomedi 4
At Mahtomedi, the Ponies outscored Mahtomedi 5-1 in the last eight minutes of the first half and pulled away in the second half for a nonconference girls’ lacrosse victory on Friday evening.
Dana Almquist scored seven goals for the Ponies (6-0 SEC, 7-0), who also received three goals apiece from Kate Sheely and Carter Sanderson. Stillwater was pushed throughout much of the first half, despite building a 4-2 lead after 17 minutes.
“Mahtomedi is a young team, but they are really well coached and have some good players and really tested us early in the game,” said Ponies coach Rick Reidt, whose team has outscored its seven opponents by a combined 138-41 this season.
Miranda Meier and Remi Larson added two goals each while teammates Katie Casto, Maggie Corman and Anna Corman added a goal each for Stillwater. Larson also scooped up seven ground balls.
“Remi had her best game of the year,” Reidt said. “She forced turnovers and turned around and scored on the other end.”
Stillwater 9 11 — 20
Mahtomedi 3 1 — 4
Goals — St, Dana Almquist 7, Kate Sheely 3, Carter Sanderson 3, Remi Larson 2, Miranda Meier 2, Katie Casto, Maggie Corman and Anna Corman.
Assists — St, Almquist 2 and Sheely.
Saves — St, Marie Bonine 9.