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Girls lacrosse: Wild Irish peaking at the right time

When the Rosemount/Eagan girls lacrosse team suffered a 12-11 loss to Lakeville North, Wild Irish coach Jeff Smith sensed a change in his team.

Rosemount/Eagan had charged back in the second half to make it a close game. The Wild Irish then lost 14-12 against undefeated Bloomington Kennedy the next time out, furthering Smith's belief that his squad has turned a corner.

With two straight wins, Rosemount/Eagan believes it's ready to peak as the regular season winds down.

"The team is continuing to get better and starting to play very well," Smith said. "We still have some room for improvement, but things are starting to fire on all cylinders. We've looked very good since the impressive second half against Lakeville North two weeks ago and have played competitively since then."

Last week, the Wild Irish (4-4, 1-4 South Suburban) lost 14-12 to Bloomington Kennedy, but came back with a 10-7 win against Eastview. On Monday, they beat Rochester Century, 17-3.

"While our 4-4 record doesn't show it, we have competed and played very well," Smith said. "The players are playing with confidence. They have endured and learned from some tough lessons that will hopefully stick with us as we strive for a strong regular season finish to prepare for a deep playoff run."

The loss to the undefeated Eagles might have demonstrated how far Rosemount/Eagan has come this season.

The Wild Irish led 4-1, but No. 3 ranked Bloomington Kennedy tied it at six before halftime and took advantage of turnovers in the second half.

Simone Haugen scored five goals for Rosemount/Eagan. Cassie Miller added four goals.

Lisa Crow and Abi Rodstein each scored twice. Maddie Johnson, Taylor Budge and Shannon Swanson each finished with one goal.

"Both teams battled back and forth until our team lost a few important offensive opportunities and Kennedy capitalized at the other end," Smith said. "The girls showed that there is no quit in them as we continued to battle, scoring four of the last five goals of the game during a frantic last eight minutes, but came up a little short."

The Wild Irish had lost four straight conference games with three coming by two goals or loss and two ending in overtime. But Rosemount/Eagan got back into the win column with a victory against No. 18 ranked Eastview.

Haugen added another five goals. Rodstein had three goals and an assist, while Miller and Hannah O'Donnell each had a goal. Kate Sullivan made five saves in goal.

"It was a must-win game for us, not only to keep our slim hopes of competing for a top spot in the conference, but for sectional seeding purposes," Smith said. "It's always important to do well against one of your biggest rivals too."

Haugen had eight goals Monday against Rochester Century.

Crow scored twice, with Budge, Johnson, Rodstein and Carly Sturgeon each finishing with one goal.

Sullivan made seven saves.

Haugen now has 43 goals on the season.