by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman’s best lacrosse season to date has been powered by a three-prong scoring attack.
The ERZ girls finished the regular season 9-4, led by freshman Emily Antony (59 goals and 38 assists), senior Kayla Mills (44 goals, 57 assists), and junior Mackenzie Perna (42 goals, 34 assists).
Mills leads the state in assists. Antony is tied for the state lead in goals and ranks fourth in assists. Mills is 23rd and Perna 27th in goals.
“All my players are amazing to watch, and it takes more than three to make a team,” said coach Jeannette Bankes, “but these three ladies have made a statement for the ERZ program, both in terms of their stats, and their immediate synergy from game one.”
She added that ERZ has developed other good players as well. Thirteen kids have scored goals.
“In the first three games they produced 95 percent of our goals, but toward the latter part of conference we were getting multiple scorers.”
ERZ will start Section 6 next Tuesday (pairings determined Saturday).
While the Elks probably can’t touch the top-echelon teams, they lost by just 13-12 to No. 8 ranked Champlin Park and 11-9 to No. 9 ranked Coon Rapids in conference play.
Last year, ERZ was 9-6 including their first playoff win, 10-9 over Becker.
“Then we played Eden Prairie and just got annihilated (21-3),” winced Mills. Eden Prairie took second in the state behind Blake. This year Blake and Eden Prairie are rated one-two again.
“We’re going to try to avoid Eden Prairie as long as we can,” grinned Perna. “We’ll face them when we need to, but I hope we get a good seed.”
All three are hockey players, Antony and Perna for Rogers, and Mills for the Elks. Antony is already the Royals’ all-time hockey scoring leader. Mills, a defenseman, helped the Elks place fifth in the state tournament her junior year.
Antony and Perna play the “attack wings” position. Mills plays “first home,” and frequently takes the ball behind the net and scans the field like a quarterback. “We are pretty good at passing to each other,” said Perna.
Added Bankes: “I coin these three as a triple threat, because if one is being double- or triple-teamed, the others come to the rescue. They feed off each other.”
ERZ had another big scorer last year in Morgan Pierson, now playing at Colorado Mesa. Pierson had 50 goals, Antony 48 and Perna 21.
Mills had only four while leading with 35 assists. This year she became a scorer. “We expect a lot more of ourselves this year,” said Mills.
They play all summer, Perna and Antony with the Lakers club team (different age levels) while Mills catches on with various teams.
“Hockey is my favorite,” said Antony, “but I love lacrosse, too. I used to play softball, but the hockey girls got me started on lacrosse