Boys lacrosse: Challenges ahead for Irish
The last couple of weeks have been the calm before the storm for the Rosemount boys lacrosse team.
The Irish, ranked sixth in the state, have built up a four-game winning streak with games that ended up 18-9, 16-2, 17-4 and 13-8 since dropping a 13-12 thriller on the road at No. 2 Minnetonka three weeks ago. Head coach Lance Kuehn knows his team now has to switch gears as it takes on No. 3 Eastview, Apple Valley and No. 1 Eagan in an eight-day span that began Tuesday night at Irish Stadium.
"The next three games is the meat of our season with Eastview, then an Apple Valley team that has a losing record but has put up some very good scores against good teams, and then next Tuesday an Eagan team ranked No. 1 in the state," Kuehn said. "Someone is going to move out of the rankings, whether it be us, or hopefully Eagan and Eastview. This next week will also determine who gets the No. 1 seed going into the playoffs and that's important to have."
Kuehn said the Irish have spent extra time at recent practices preparing for these big games, studying up on their opponents as well as fixing their own past mistakes.
"It all comes down to the mental game. We've spent the last few practices working on the mental side, knowing when to push the ball and when to settle down," he said. "We've been looking at scouting reports of the teams coming up and briefly looking at our last games to find what we need to work on to get sharp. It's going to take being a team that can keep our mind focused and play a team game for 48 minutes."
Costly penalties left Rosemount playing a man down for much of last Friday's game at Prior Lake, but the Irish posted a 6-0 advantage during an even-strength second quarter in a 13-8 road win.
"That's how it should have been the whole time," Kuehn said of the decisive second quarter. "The guys are trying to play defense with their stick instead of their bodies."
It was 3-3 before the Irish opened the second with three goals in 48 seconds.
Matt Weller finished with a season-high seven goals. Jake Mortenson added a hat trick, Carter Yepsen scored twice and Grant VanOverbeke scored a goal and dished out two assists.
Chase Olson played all 48 minutes in goal and picked up the win.
Weller led seven Rosemount goal-scorers with five tallies in a 17-4 blowout of Bloomington Jefferson last Tuesday at Irish Stadium.
Yepsen added four goals, VanOverbeke scored three and Logan Lindberg added two.