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Girls lacrosse: Haugen's late goal nets Wild Irish playoff win

Rosemount/Eagan's Abi Rodstein moves to the ball during a game against Lakeville North last Wednesday's. The Wild Irish came from behind to beat the Panters 9-8 in Lakeville.

When summarizing the finish of last week's playoff game against Lakeville North, Rosemount/Eagan girls lacrosse coach Jeff Smith didn't want to miss anything.

Smith was excited about how the Wild Irish finished off a 9-8 come-from-behind victory against the Panthers.

However, to get the full feeling, Smith knew he couldn't just focus on the finish. He knew it was necessary to start from the beginning.

Smith broke down each of the key moments in the game and then finally got to the end. That's when Rosemount/Eagan finished off an epic comeback, rallying to win the game on a goal by Simone Haugen with 18 seconds left. Haugen finished with four goals.

"All I can say is, what a finish,' Smith said.

The pride Smith felt in his squad was apparent in his words.

The Wild Irish, the No. 7 seed, upset No. 2 seed Lakeville North and advanced to the Section 3 semifinals for the second straight year.

Rosemount/Eagan trailed by four goals with 16:44 remaining, and was down three with 4:26 left. The Wild Irish scored four unanswered goals in the last 3:07 to advance to this week's semifinals against No. 3 seed Apple Valley.

"The players demonstrated a real-life example of why you should never give up," Smith said. "You never know what's going to happen if you keep working hard, keep shooting, stay confident in your abilities and keep trusting your teammates to make plays. I can't be more proud of how the players responded to adversity and the effort that they demonstrated until the very end."

The two teams scored six goals in the final 4:45 of the game, with Rosemount/Eagan tallying five of them.

But to understand where the Wild Irish came from, Smith knew he had to start from the beginning.

Haugen opened the scoring just 50 seconds into the game.

The Panthers took a 2-1 lead, but Haugen's second goal tied the game again.

Lakeville North scored again to take a 3-2 halftime lead.

"The three goals scored in the last three and half minutes was a foreshadowing of the wild finish at the end of the game," Smith said.

The flurry to end the half wasn't indicative of how the teams played at the start.

"We had a tight first half with both teams playing terrific defense and goaltending," Smith said. Annie Smith had some terrific saves, especially in the first half, including stopping three free shots on her way to making 12 saves for the night."

The Panthers then took a 7-3 advantage early in the second half.

Cassie Miller scored once, but the comeback began with Haugen's third goal.

Miller then connected to make it a 7-5 game, but Lakeville North countered to regain the three-goal advantage.

Abi Rodstein scored twice in 23 seconds. She finished with two goals and two assists.

Lisa Crow scored with 35 seconds left to tie the game and Haugen scored with 18 second remaining.

Miller, Taylor Budge and Maddie Johnson each had an assists.