Experienced Irish boys' lacrosse off to hot start
Expectations are high this season for the Rosemount boys' lacrosse team despite losing their three captains from last season's team that went 10-3 in the regular season. The Irish only graduated five seniors from last year, and return much of their varsity lineup from 2017.
Head coach Lance Kuehn said that they will surprise teams this season with the changes they have made on both the offensive and defensive ends, and that they will have a "huge advantage" over others at the start of the season.
"A lot of time in the dome doing two-a-day practices, which right now is going to be a huge advantage for us going into the first couple of games," he said. "This morning we were able to do full-field practices. The teams that do rent the dome, unless they rent the whole thing, they can't run full-field stuff. So we've been in the dome in the mornings, running 5:15 in the morning practices and running full-field scrimmages with our own squad up and down the field to be prepped."
Kuehn said the team's strength is its depth, experience and chemistry. He said the team has nine midfielders who can "all play really well, high tempo" and an attack that "has been playing together at a high-caliber level for years already." Not to mention an experienced and talented defense.
This year's captains are junior Austin Lentz, junior Sam Johnson, junior Thomas Purfeerst and senior Jackson Hahn. The seniors are Hahn, Samuel Zeigler, Samuel Defries, Griffin Jagoe, Cameron Loberg, Seth Gorman and Michael Judd.
Undefeated at the start
Much of what Kuehn predicted in the season preview has come true in Rosemount's first three games. The Irish have started 3-0 with wins over Bloomington Jefferson (9-4), Bloomington Kennedy (12-10) and Farmington (14-2).
"For us it's going great, we're 3-0, it's a good start," Kuehn said. "We're now getting into conference play, which is a little tougher. We scheduled Jefferson and Kennedy early on because they are section games. It's awesome that we got two wins against section teams already, that will bode well for the postseason."
In all three games, Rosemount has had a well-balanced offense that is not reliant on any one player, which Kuehn said has come back to bite the Irish in the past when they have had a dominant player. Against Jefferson, seven different players scored goals, and in the win over Kennedy, eight Irish players were able to put the ball in the net. They then continued that trend with seven different players scoring against the Tigers, including five goals and two assists from junior Thomas Purfeerst.
"We're getting a diversity of scorers," Kuehn said. "Overall, if you look at our stats, our leading scorer has eight goals and 13 points, but 12 guys out of 24 have scored goals. That's the key to our success right now, we have a lot of different guys scoring, which is awesome. (And) we've been really successful in the face-off position with Cam Loberg."
Kuehn describes his team as very aggressive, especially on the defensive end. However, this has led to the Irish taking too many penalties in their first few games.
"We have a very aggressive defense, which we want them to push out, we want them to rattle the other team," he said. "We're kind of getting a few calls where our guys are going out a little too much. We have to find that fine-tuned edge of what's aggressive and what's a penalty."
Through three games, Purfeerst leads the team in goals (8), assists (5) and points (13). Junior Bennett Magnuson is second with eight points on four goals and four assists, and Moran is third with four goals and an assist for five points.
Rosemount hosted Eastview on Tuesday and then travel to Eagan on Thursday, May 3.