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Rosemount's Cassie Miller (15) sprints away from a Mahtomedi defender during a recent home game. The Irish finished the regular season with a record of 6-6 and squared off against No. 2 seed Lakeville South in the second round of the section tournament Wednesday.

Girls lacrosse: Wild Irish win in section

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After finishing off the regular season with back-to-back wins, Rosemount/Eagan coach Jeff Smith was confident heading into the Section 3 tournament.

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Smith has held his belief that the Wild Irish could contend in the playoffs. Close losses during the season didn't sway his opinion. Then Rosemount/Eagan ended the regular season on a high note with wins against Prior Lake and Lakeville South.

The Wild Irish finished the regular season 6-6 overall and 3-5 in South Suburban Conference play. The final results led them to be named the No. 7 seed in the section tournament.

But Smith wasn't worried about seeding. He knows his team has the ability to compete regardless of opponent.

"Despite our .500 record and No. 7 seed, we have as good a chance as any team in the section to win, and I'm sure many of the 15 teams are saying the same thing," Smith said before the playoffs began this week. "I believed it at the beginning of the season. I believed it despite our string of overtime and one- or two goal losses in the middle of the season. I especially believe it after seeing how our team performed last Friday.

"When we play well at all aspects of the game for every minute of the game, we will compete with the best."

Friday's 16-5 win against Lakeville South capped the regular season, two days after a 15-9 victory at Prior Lake.

The Wild Irish drew the No. 7 seed in the Section 3 tournament and hosted No. 10 seed Park on Monday. Rosemount advanced with an 11-5 win against Park and was set to face No. 2 seed Lakeville North yesterday.

Results were not available at press time. Go to www.rosemounttownpages.com to see the final score. The Wild Irish lost a 12-11 game against the Panthers during the regular season.

Rosemount/Eagan advanced to the Wednesday's quarterfinals with a strong defensive showing against Park.

The Wild Irish held their opponent to five goals for the second straight game. They held Park just six goals in the first meeting.

"The players' confidence as a defensive unit continues to grow," Smith said. "It's fun to see the pride the girls have in accepting the challenge of and successfully keeping top players and teams from scoring. That will continue to be a big factor as we continue in the playoffs."

Park's defense held strong as well, but the Wild Irish finished off the game with three goals in the last four minutes after the Wolfpack had closed it to an 8-5 deficit.

Cassie Miller, Taylor Budge and Lisa Crow each had two goals and an assist for Rosemount/Eagan. Simone Haugen added two goals and two assists.

Maddie Johnson scored twice and Abi Rodstein had a goal and an assist.

Annie Smith stopped 16 of the 21 shots she faced in goal.

Scoring wasn't a problem for the Wild Irish last week.

Haugen had seven goals and two assists against Lakeville South. Rodstein and Johnson each scored twice. Emma Murray, Kourtney Mitchell, Katelyn Paget, Miller, and Budge each added a goal. Miller had five assists.

"I wasn't any prouder of our team effort as I was during (the Lakeville South) game," Smith said. "It was the best team defensive effort I've seen in my two years with the team. The team defense led into a very strong offensive effort getting goals from eight different players."

Against Prior Lake, Haugen finished with six goals, while Rodstein added five goals. Johnson scored twice and Paget and Miller had one goal apiece.

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