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Boys Lacrosse State Championship Season

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The 2012/2013 Season was one to be remembered for ever. Most all players from the previous season returned, and after a summer traveling the east coast together, the group was ready for the magical season.

Eastview reaches the top

By Jason Gonzalez, Star Tribune
06/08/2012, 12:17am CDT

School wins first boys’ state championship in any sport as Lightning beat Eden Prairie


Eastview’s Jake Heppner, left, celebrates after he scored a first-quarter goal. Photo by Marlin Levison, Star Tribune

Long before hoisting the state championship trophy, Eastview was preparing for this moment.

The boys’ lacrosse program was tired of watching the state championship game from the stands and had long forgotten a second-place finish in 2009.

Willing to learn more about the game and each other, the Lightning committed to a summer full of lacrosse and a four-week preseason boot camp that were the first steps in a journey that ended Thursday night with a state championship — the first in any boys’ sport at the school.

Eastview won in fashion, walloping Eden Prairie 10-4 in front of a crowd of 2,113 at Chanhassen High School.

“We were ready to go from the beginning [of the season],” said senior attack Jacob Heppner.

The champions celebrated by running across the field to their goalkeeper Andrew Koenen, who deserved the pile of celebration. He stopped 16 Eden Prairie shot attempts, giving up only four goals to a team that scored 15 in the semifinals.

“I felt ready once [Ryan McNamara] messed up my thumb in warmups,” Koenen said holding up his swollen and bruised digit. “As I got more pain, I got more focused. But it was not only me, but our defense, too.”

Eastview’s 10 goals were scored by eight players, with two apiece from Heppner and Tanner Hamill.

The teams didn’t face off during the regular season but were familiar with each other. A preseason scrimmage provided a glimpse, and many of the players compete against one another in club lacrosse.

Eden Prairie goalkeeper Anthony Perkins was convinced it would be tight game. He had heard stories of McNamara and Erik Gage, but now Perkins and his defense would have to stop them.

The little offense Totino-Grace showed against Eden Prairie in the semifinals was a detriment to the Eagles’ preparation. The Lightning’s speed and strength overwhelmed last year’s runner-up.

As the Eastview fans sang to their team during a timeout with less than three minutes left in the game, the players wiggled with excitement, sensing a state title was just moments away.

In its sixth season as a sanctioned varsity sport, boys’ lacrosse continues to show growth and more parity in the sport. All four teams that advanced to the state tournament had never won a championship, with Edina new to the tournament altogether.

 

‘Dark Army’ captures gold

By MN Lax Hub staff
06/07/2012, 1:49am CDT

Black-and-blue goalie Andrew Koenen lifts Eastview to title game win over Eden Prairie

Eastview goaltender Andrew Koenen, right, celebrates the Lightning's state championship with teammate Bradley Hogan. Photo by Helen Nelson
Eastview goaltender Andrew Koenen celebrates the Lightning’s state championship with teammate Bradley Hogan. Photo by Helen Nelson
The best way to break a curse?
 
Embrace it.
 
Worked for Andrew Koenen.
 
Not interested in reliving a bleak history, Koenen instead focused on a glorious future.
 
Now he’s part of an exclusive club — one of just five goaltenders who have won Minnesota State High School League boys state lacrosse championships.
 
Koenen made 16 saves as Eastview broke all sorts of unflattering streaks in its 10-4 triumph over Eden Prairie in the state title game on Thursday, June 5, in front of 2,113 fans at Chanhassen High School.
 
Koenen had watched Eastview lose a boys’ soccer state championship to Eden Prairie, and he knew all about the other big games the Lightning had lost to the Eagles in other sports over the years.
 
He knew the Lightning’s three previous trips to the state boys lacrosse tournament had ended without a title, and he was well aware the school, which opened in 1997, had never won a boys championship of any kind.

Eden Prairie’s Nic Bentz (22) fires a shot at Eastview goaltender Andrew Koenen. Photo by Helen Nelson
That’s a lot of baggage, and the outlook didn’t improve during warmups when teammate Ryan McNamara drilled a shot off Koenen’s thumb.
 
“Mac kind of messed up my thumb a little bit, made it a little black and blue,” said Koenen, taking off his glove to reveal the swollen digit complete with discolored nail.
 
Cursed? Nah. Koenen used the injury to his advantage.
 
“Any time I would get a little less angry, I would squeeze it a little bit and get more and more angry,” he said about his battered thumb. “And I would just take it out on the other team, and I would get more and more focused as the game went on.”
 
Cursed? Eastview lost standout midfielder and vocal leader Alex Wohl to a torn ACL in the sixth game of the regular season. Starting defenseman Luke Fredrickson missed both state tournament games because of an athletic code violation.
 
“If you would have told me were going to be missing two of our best four players in the state championship game, I would have been really concerned,” Eastview coach Tim Roche said.
 
As for all those losses to Eden Prairie over the years, they served as a tanker truckload of motivation. Fuel for a night of curse-busting.
 
“I came out here, and I just go so into it,” Koenen said. “I just wanted really wanted to beat them.”
 
Koenen was good in the first half, when he made six saves. He was great in the third quarter when Eden Prairie possessed the ball for long stretches and fired four shots on goal. He was better than great in the fourth quarter, when he made six saves as the desperate Eagles unloaded their remaining arsenal.
 
An early save on Eden Prairie All-State midfielder Jake Woodring served as an initial confidence boost.
 
“After that first shot, when he just ripped it and I saved it, I thought ‘He’s no faster than those other guys. I got this,’ ” Koenen said, comparing Woodring to some of the South Suburban Conference stars he faced during the season.
 
Koenen’s performance was eerily similar to that of Thomas Gilligan of Bendile-St. Margaret’s a year ago in the state title game. Gilligan was brilliant in making 16 saves (the same total as Koenen’s) in a 9-3 victory over Eden Prairie.
 
“It’s like a bad dream from this year to last year,” Eden Prairie coach Ryan Ward said. “We had a lot of looks but our shooting, it just. … (Koenen) was a little hot, and I think there was a little bit of us making him look hot.
 
“It’s a six-by-six net, you’ve got to hit it.”
 
Not the most feared player on a team that acquired the nickname “Dark Army” in the offseason, Koenen didn’t have much of a reputation – good or bad – before the championship game. He didn’t receive any kind of all-star recognition, not even an all-section nod.
 
“We always knew we had a great goalie,” said Jake Heppner, Eastview’s Mr. Lacrose award winner who scored two goals and added two assists. “Nobody else gave him respect, but we always believed in him.
 
“He played unreal.”
State Championship Roster

Eastview

State Tournament MSHSL 2012
Number
Player
Position
Grade
1 Nickcateseastview_smallNick Cates D 12
3 Nickabbotteastview_smallNick Abbott M 11
4 Ryanmcnamaraeastview_smallRyan McNamara A 11
5 Brettschweigereastview_smallBrett Schweiger M 10
6 Johnschweicheastwview_smallJack Schweich D 12
7 Alexwohleastview_smallAlex Wohl M 12
8 Billylawrenceeastview_smallBilly Lawrence LSM 12
9 Jonplaszczeastivew_smallJon Plaszcz M 12
10 Tannerhamilleastview_smallTanner Hamill A 11
11 Jakehepppnereastview_smallJake Heppner A 12
12 Brikgageeastview_smallErik Gage M 12
13 Scottypugmireeastview_smallScotty Pugmire LSM 10
14 Mitchbeattieeastview_smallMitch Beattie M 11
15 Andrewkoeneneastview_smallAndrew Koenen G 12
16 Shanekenealeyeastview_smallShane Kenealey M 11
17 Dylanleiningereastview_smallDylan Leininger LSM 12
18 Chrisgranteastview_smallChris Granat M 11
19 Derekschletchereastview_smallDerek Schleicher M 12
20 Jakemcglocklineastview_smallJake McGlocklin M 10
21 Lukefredericksoneastview_smallLuke Frederickson D 11
22 Bradhogameastview_smallBrad Hogan M 12
25 Mikestillingseastview_smallMichael Stillings M 10
27 Connormillseastview_smallConnor Mills D 11
29 Andrewcalhouneastview_smallAndrew Calhoun G 12
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