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Boys lacrosse: The team to beat

Rosemount’s Conner Yepsen passes the ball up the field during a recent home game. Yepsen scored six goals in last week’s win over No. 1 Eagan.

The Rosemount boys lacrosse team was given the No. 1 spot for the first time in program history when the state rankings were released on Monday.

After the week the Irish had, they certainly earned it. Before last week, no team had ever beaten powerhouse programs Eastview and Eagan in a single season. The Irish did that and more, defeating Eastview 9-6 and blowing out previous No. 1-ranked Eagan 16-3 in back-to-back South Suburban Conference road games.

“It’s a nice recognition, but it also means we have a target on our back now. Teams will play extra hard against us and they have more motivation to take us down,” Rosemount coach Lance Kuehn said. “It will be a little more difficult being where we’re at versus trying to get there. We’ve always aspired to be the team ahead of us, now we have to work extra hard to stay at the top.”

The victory over Eagan was especially sweet as the Irish lost to the Wildcats twice in the section finals in recent years. The Irish led 16-1 after the third quarter, which put the game into running time, and limited Eagan to its lowest goal total ever.

“It was a huge win for the guys. They really loved every moment of it. They were really proud of this victory,” Kuehn said. “I think we had a good game plan going into the game. We did a lot of preparation and knew what they would bring and we changed everything we do to get ready for them.”

The adjustments resulted in a dominating performance. Conner Yepsen paced six scorers with six goals and Carter Yepsen added four goals. Trent Woodcock scored twice and David Blanco, Jonah Halterman and Mason Hille each scored single goals.

Goaltender Shaun Skrbec needed to make just eight saves behind a strong Irish defense.

The Irish scored four goals in the final quarter to pull away for last Tuesday’s win at Eastview.

Carter Yepsen and Hille each tallied a pair of goals. Blanco, Conner Yepsen, Luke VanOverbeke and Garrick Swanson each scored once.

“Their defensemen were a little more athletic and played a team game a little bit better,” Kuehn said. “They were able to make adjustments and slow us down more.”

Skrbec finished with 15 saves.

The Irish take on Prior Lake tonight at the Savage Dome.