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Boys lacrosse: Moving up the rankings

Rosemount senior Trent Woodcock looks for an open teammate during last Thursday's 19-5 win over Rochester Century at Irish Stadium. the Irish are 2-0 and ranked second in the state.

Before the season started, Rosemount lacrosse coach Lance Kuehn said his team would be one of the best in the state, with an offense that would be very difficult for opponents to stop.

The season is only two games old, but his assessment looks to be right on the money. The Irish moved from third in the state’s pre-season rankings to second after blowing out Rochester Century 19-5 and Mahtomedi 16-6 last week at Irish Stadium.

The Irish vaulted past Eden Prairie and Eastview in the rankings after both teams lost, and now sit behind only section nemesis Eagan (3-0), which they take on tonight at Eagan High School.

“The guys know that we can play with the best of them. We feel like we are the No. 1 team in the state. We say constantly that the only team that can beat us is ourselves if we let up or look past a team,” Kuehn said. “They’re internally motivated to stay on top of things and be prepared for every game. If we do that, no one can beat us.”

The Irish’s confidence stems from their high-powered offense, which generated at least four goals in all four quarters against Century and built an 11-1 lead by halftime Saturday against 13th-ranked Mahtomedi.

“We know we can score on pretty much any possession, so we have to make sure we don’t rush into anything, take our time and put in our play,” Kuehn said. “We don’t need to push the ball all the time as fast as we used to when we were a less-experienced team. Now we can control the game with the ball in our hands.”

Eight players found the net against Mahtomedi. Senior Conner Yepsen set the pace, scoring five goals and handing out two assists. He became the program’s fourth 100-goal scorer with his tally in the third period.

Conner’s twin brother, Carter Yepsen, became the Irish’s third 100-goal scorer last season. He added onto his career total with three more on Saturday. Luke VanOverbeke, younger brother of 100-goal scorer Grant VanOverbeke, tacked on two goals, as did David Blanco.

Gabe Ames, Mason Hille, Clayton Smith and Garrick Swanson each scored once for the Irish. Trent Woodcock notched a team-high three assists.

Goaltender Shaun Skrbec made five saves.

The Irish put 30 shots on goal and connected on 19 of them in last Thursday’s season-opening rout of Century.

Yepsen led the offensive parade with six goals and a pair of assists. Carter Yepsen, Swanson and VanOverbeke each scored hat tricks and Hille supplied a goal and four assists.

Blanco and Blake Longhenry added single goals.

Skrbec stopped nine Century shots.