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Girls lacrosse: Conference road tough on Wild Irish last week

After winning the first two games of the season, the Rosemount/Eagan girls lacrosse team looked to be following through on the next step of growth during the program's history.

The Wild Irish were 2-0 against non-conference opponents. A loss to Apple Valley last week added perspective for coach Jeff Smith, though.

Smith said his team needed to be able to show the same effort and consistency against South Suburban Conference teams.

Rosemount/Eagan lost 11-9 at Burnsville the next day and took a 12-11 loss at Lakeville North later in the week.

"We had a tough week last week with three road losses, all in conference play," Smith said. "We're learning the hard way that we need to show up with our 'A' game against every opponent, especially against conference opponents."

While many games have been postponed and rescheduled due to weather this season, the Wild Irish (2-3) played its game at Burnsville last week in inclement weather.

Smith felt it was an improvement over the Apple Valley game a day earlier, but it ended in the same result.

Simone Haugen led Rosemount/Eagan with three goals and one assist. Taylor Budge had two goals. Chelsea Nelson, Abi Rodstein and Hannah O'Donnell each scored once.

"We played more competitively than the night before, but didn't win the ball control part of the game," Smith said. "We didn't win enough loose ball battles and had too many turnovers. We also weren't consistent enough with our coverage in front of our net, leading to Blaze players being wide open in front of our net for two or three easy goals."

Despite the defensive mistakes, Smith credited the work of defenders Katey Inman and Rodstein. Annie Smith made 14 saves in goal, playing 50 minutes.

The Wild Irish showed improvement at Lakeville North.

The Wild Irish trialed 8-4 at halftime, but rallied and forced overtime before losing 12-11.

"We had what I thought was our best half of the year," Smith said. "I was proud of the way the girls responded after the break, showing a lot of character, outscoring the Panthers 7-4 in the second half and the overtime.

"Unfortunately, we dug the first half hole that was a little too big to escape. The second half though was a glimmer of how well this team can play when they put their minds to it and the way we expect to play."

Haugen scored seven goals and added an assist.

Cassie Miller and Maddie Johnson each finished with a goal. Miller, O'Donnell, and Carly Sturgeon had assists. Smith started and had five saves in the first half. Kate Sullivan had four saves in the second half and overtime.

"If the offensive and defensive effort we had in the second half against the Panthers is offered in the remainder of our games, we will have great success," Smith said.