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Girls lacrosse: Reasons for optimism

Senior captains Maddie Johnson and Sydney Lubeley are back to lead the Rosemount girls lacrosse team this season.

The Rosemount girls lacrosse team showed it was ready to step out on its own last spring.

After playing as a cooperative with Eagan for seven years, the Irish went 9-6 in their first season as a solo program. The returning varsity players blended well with the newcomers who came up from the JV ranks and that cohesiveness helped the Irish excel in close games. They won six of their contests by a combined 10 goals.

With 15 letterwinners back from that team, and only three starters lost to graduation, the Irish should be ready to move up in the pack in the competitive South Suburban Conference.

"Our goal is to be a top team in the conference, achieve a high seed in the section and compete game in and game out. We have been a team in the past that has had big victories in what looked like certain losses because our players never quit," Rosemount coach Jeff Smith said. "Their willingness to compete and believe that they are never out of a game leads to a high amount of optimism."

That optimism is fueled by the return of their top two goal scorers from a year ago. All-state midfielder and team captain Maddie Johnson is back for her senior season after finishing second in the state with 73 goals a year ago and midfielder Shaniah Anderson returns after a freshman season where she scored 45 goals.

"Johnson possesses a high level of game sense as well as outstanding ability to move the ball, either carrying it or passing it to her teammates," Smith said.

Madi Lubeley (five goals, four assists) and Claire Smith are also back as midfielders.

Senior captain Sydney Lubeley is another player who could see time as a midfielder after earning honorable mention all-conference honors as a defender last spring.

"Lubeley is a terrific ball-handler with very good speed who excelled as a defender for us last season," Smith said. "She may see some more time at midfield so we can get her more involved with the offense."

Returning letter winners Allison Karrmann, Megan Schmitt and Sydney Narloch are also back on the defensive end for the Irish. They will support a pair of goalies -- Charley Belden and Alexis Raeth -- who both found success in their first significant varsity action last season. Belden was 5-2 with a 12.08 goals-allowed average and 41 saves and Raeth was 3-3 with a 14.02 GAA and 60 saves.

"We are also expecting two freshman goaltenders, so our depth at that position will hopefully become a strength for us as the season progresses," Smith said.

The Irish would also like to see some players step in to increase production at the forward position where Cassie Miller (38 goals, 16 assists) was lost to graduation. Meghan Tuccitto (13 goals), Hillary Smith, Angela Bodine and Darby Henjum are all returning letterwinners.

"Team speed and young experience should be strengths for us," Smith said. "With potentially some of the top players in the state on our squad, we should be very competitive.... Lacrosse is such a short season that team chemistry and being able to work together on the field has to happen quickly if we want to compete as one of the top teams in a very tough conference and section."