EDEN PRAIRIE — The Stillwater girls’ lacrosse team visited the school of hard knocks for the second time in less than a week following Tuesday’s 16-6 nonconference loss at Eden Prairie.
The Ponies, who lost their first game of the season at Lake on Saturday, suffered another setback while falling short against the Eagles, who have never finished worse than second in the seven-year history of the MSHSL state tournament.
It’s these learning experiences that Ponies coach Rick Reidt is after when he schedules tough nonconference opponents and those teams provide a tough standard for Stillwater to live up to.
“Eden Prairie is a top team and has very skilled players,” Reidt said. “They are very fast and very well coached and we really need to do everything perfectly to stay with them. At times, we were missing a few parts of our game when they were scoring goals and we weren’t.”
The Eagles jumped out quickly whild building a 7-1 lead in the first half before Emma Wiessner, Dana Almquist and Kate Sheely scored during a five-minute stretch to pull the Ponies within three goals at halftime. Eden Prairie, however, scored the first five goals of the second half to pull away for a 12-4 lead.
“We need to improve on our fundamentals and with lacrosse it comes down to possession,” Reidt said. “We have to become more patient. Blake and Eden Prairie are both very patient teams and we tend to rush, especially early in the Eden Prairie game. It hurts us when we turn the ball over, but when we started to score against Eden Prairie we were more patient.
“We can see what we did well and what we need to improve on and now we have time to get some work done.”
Sheely set the scoring pace for Stillwater with three goals and Wiessner scored twice. Almqust was limited to just a single tally, which is well below her season average.
“Eden Prairie did a better job on getting the ground balls,” Reidt said. “They’re very explosive adn they move their feet well. We need to get better at moving our feet.”
Stillwater 4 2 — 6
Eden Prairie 7 9 — 16
Goals — St, Kate Sheely 3, Emma Wiessner 2 and Dana Almquist.
Saves — St, Marie Bonine 10.
Stillwater 21, Hastings 0
At Oak Park Heights, sandwiched between nonconference games against state powers Blake and Eden Prairie, the Ponies closed out an unbeaten run through the Suburban East Conference with Monday’s 21-0 victory over Hastings at Stillwater Area High School.
The Ponies (9-0 SEC, 11-1) wrapped up their fifth consecutive league title and, unlike a year ago, will not have to share this one after blanking the Raiders. Stillwater has outscored its nine conference opponents by a combined 179-47 this season.
Dana Almquist and Emma Wiessner notched three goals apiece for Stillwater while teammates Kate Sheely, Maddy Sova, Kastie Casto, Miranda Meier and Remi Larson chipped in with two each to help the Ponies celebrate Senior Night.
Hastings 0 0 — 0
Stillwater 11 10 — 21
Goals — St, Dana Almquist 3, Emma Wiessner 3, Kate Sheely 2, Maddy Sova 2, Katie Casto 2, Miranda Meier 2, Remi Larson 2, Rachel Martell, Marie Bonine, Jane Vezina, Natalie Gjermo and Hannah Dick.
Assists — St, Almquist 2, Sova, Maggie Corman and Larson.
Saves — St, NA.
Blake 13, Stillwater 8
At Hopkins, Blake racked up an inordinate number of yellow cards and ejections, but also tossed in enough goals to defeat the Ponies 13-8 in Saturday’s nonconference girls’ lacrosse game.
The Bears, who have won five championships in the seven years the Minnesota State High School League has conducted a state tournament, jumped out to an 8-3 lead during a first half which also saw them receive four yellow cards and the first of three ejections. Blake was able to overcame the loss of those players with superior skill as the Bears were able to gain control off the faceoffs and maintain possession throughout the game, even while shorthanded.
“It was a very physical game,” Ponies coach Rick Reidt said. “They are a skilled team and they have the skill to be able to play keepaway, which they did at the end of the game.”
The Ponies did draw two yellow cards, their eighth and ninth of the season.
Emma Wiessner finished with four goals for the Ponies and Carter Sanderson added two before leaving the game with a head injury late in the second half. The Bears limited the state’s leading scorer Dana Almquist to just one goal with effective face guarding and constant attention, holding her scoreless until there was just 26 seconds remaining.
“That wasn’t our problem, our problem was that we hardly ever got the ball and when we did we turned it over,” Reidt said.
Marie Bonine finished with 20 saves as part of a busy day in goal for the Ponies (10-1).
Stillwater 3 5 — 8
Blake 8 5 — 13
Goals — St, Emma Wiessner 4, Carter Sanderson 2, Dana Almquist and Kate Sheely; Bl, Annie Lyman 3, Olivia Nolan 2, Nicole Kozlak 2. Jordan Chancellor 2, Anne Slusser, Brynne Swearingen, Adelaide Winton and Lydia Sutton.
Assists — St, Remi Larson; Bl, Kozlak 2, Lyman 2, Nolan 2 and Sutton.
Saves — St, Marie Bonine 20; Bl, Hannah Magarian NA.