by Eric Oslund
The Elk River boys lacrosse team hosted Osseo-Park Center in their first game of the season on Monday, April 17, and were able to come away with a 5-2 victory.
The Elks lost a lot of players last year, so there were a lot of question marks heading into this game. How will their new goalie, sophomore Cody Simon, perform? How will the defense, that is only returning one starter, look? How will the offense look? How will this young team look when they face tougher, more experienced opponents? Some of those questions were answered in their first game of the season, but some were still left up in the air.
“Offense is always slow in the beginning of the season, it’s always the hardest,” head coach Thomas Haugen said. “Defense did pretty well. We’re starting a new goalie this year, so that was also new for the team. We had our last goalie for the last two years and he was fantastic. Now we’ve got to start a new one and he did a great job.”
Jack Hendrickson is expected to help hold down the defense this season, as he is the only returning starter – and will be playing college lacrosse next fall – but he will also be joined by senior Jeff Watkins, who is getting his first shot at varsity and has been playing well early.
Nick Rice was well known during the fall for the performance he put on as member of the state champion football team, leaving his name etched all over the Elk River record book, and is now expected to carry a large load on the lacrosse team as well being the only senior midfielder on the roster.
Then there is Hunter Kivley. He is a captain this season and the only senior attacker on the team. It’s his third season playing up on varsity, and he is expected to be one of the guys who really gets the offense going here in the coming weeks.
This win was not the prettiest, but at the end of the day a win is a win, and it’s always nice to start the season out with one. Also, Haugen likes that it wasn’t his team’s best performance because it gives them a place to build from for the rest of the season.
“Anytime you win it gives you confidence, and anytime you can win, even if it’s not your best game, it helps you out,” the head coach explained. “I like that it wasn’t our best game. I like that we didn’t peak yet because it puts it on film and it gives us a place to go, a place to work on. It’s always good to get a win. The team did real well.”