by Eric Oslund
The Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman girls lacrosse team played host to Wyazata in the first round of the Section 8 tournament back on June 1, and were able to come away with a 12-11 win. That meant that the No. 4 seeded Elks would make their way south to take on the No. 1 seed in the section, Maple Grove.
The two teams squared off on Monday, June 5, and it seemed to be a very even match up to start the game. But then things took a turn for the worse after about the first 10 minutes.
Communication started to break down in the defensive end, which led to a lot of good looks for Maple Grove. And they capitalized, just as they have all season, which put the Elks in a 15-4 hole at the half.
“After talking with them after the first half, getting them motivated to give it their all, the girls came out strong the second half,” said head coach Stephanie Anderson. “Halle Johnson, Raelyn Korniek and Reilly Springman started controlling most of the draws second half. This allowed us to have more opportunities to score.”
And just like their opponents did in the first half, the Elks were able to capitalize on the opportunities they got in the offensive end. Raelyn Korniek finished the game with a team-high five goals, Johnson tallied four, Springman got three and Jenna Korniek finished with one.
Offense wasn’t the only facet of the game to step up their play in the second half, though, as the defense was really able to step up their play as well, only allowing Maple Grove to score four times in the second half.
“They all started communicating, being aggressive, fighting for the ground balls,” Anderson said of her defense. ”Annie Dalton, Katy McMillen, Hayley Ackermann, Abigail Benson and Hailey Hartlage, were all key players on the defensive end.”
The Elks undoubtedly won the second half, controlling play and outscoring their opponents 9-4, but unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to dig themselves out of the hole they got in during the first half, as they would end up falling 19-13.
It’s a difficult was for any team to end the season, as it’s possible they could have pulled off the come back if they just had a few extra minutes, but Anderson doesn’t want her players to hang their heads after this game.
“This season was a great season,” the head coach said. “For being such a young team, these girls really came together and started playing as a team. Their stick skills have enhanced so much throughout the season. Watching them grow and develop and work hard at each and every game and practice was awesome; I am very proud of all the girls.”
And, just like any other sport, she is going to miss the seniors as well. Raelyn Korniek, Dalton, McMillen, Ackerman, and Mikaila Brothen will all be graduating after this season, and she knows they will be a difficult class to replace.
“We will definitely miss the seniors, they all brought unique contributions to our team,” Anderson said. “It has been fun watching these girls over the past years grow with their lacrosse skills as well and growing as a person. I wish them the best in the future.”