Kennedy earned its first home section game and highest-ever seed
One day and three weeks after Bloomington Kennedy scored perhaps its biggest boys’ lacrosse win over crosstown rival, Bloomington Jefferson, the two teams met on the turf field at Kennedy to open Section 6 play.
Another close score found No. 3 seeded Kennedy on the losing end of its first-ever home section game while Jefferson emerged on top 8-6.
“Clearly both sides were pretty amped up for this one,” Jefferson coach Scott Cater said as players on both sides played together on the same team from fifth through eighth grades. “They wanted to get this rematch and have a lot of fun and you heard the crowd on both sides, it was an energetic atmosphere and our kids fed off it.
“That was fun for us.”
Jefferson senior Kyle Thomson scored his first goal of the game at the edge of the goal area with four minutes left on the opening quarter. Quick passing helped make it a 2-0 lead for the Jags as Drew Bianchini hit Thomson who quickly fed the ball to junior Blake Camuel with 43.6 seconds left in the quarter.
“Getting that early lead allowed us to play with confidence and make that extra pass,” Cater said as five Jaguars with one goal each. “Because we settled down and trusted each other.”
Early into the second period, Kennedy junior Zach Workman lined up a shot before Jefferson freshman Carson Jacobs popped the ball loose for the turnover.
Kennedy senior attack Christian Johnson took advantage of an opening 12 yards from the Jaguars net to rip a shot in the goal to make it 2-1, 8:54 before halftime. Junior midfielder David Beacom set up Johnson’s goal from behind Jefferson’s net.
Jefferson pulled ahead 3-1 on Thomson’s second goal of the game coming 6:06 left in the opening half as Kennedy was a player down after Connor Lynch took a penalty.
Bianchini set up freshman Benny Henry on the first of two goals before halftime. The second came eight seconds later to give Jefferson a 5-1 lead into the break.
“Kennedy is a really balanced team,” Cater said. “They’ve got kids all over the place that can score. They can score pretty quickly and we gave them a few opportunities in the second half where we were a man-down and they scored right away.
“We beat a good team today and they deserved that No. 3 seed.”
Kennedy senior Edge Choudek set up junior Grant Mendel to get the second-half scoring under way to make it 5-2 with 8:30 left in the third quarter.
Jefferson quickly responded with a David Bach goal from a bad angle to build a 6-2 lead, 36 seconds later.
Kennedy managed to get a pair of goals to cut into the Jaguars lead, 6-4 with 2:14 left in the third quarter before Jacobs connected on a shot from 10 yards out to make it 7-4 with 9:59 left in the contest.
Johnson served up an assist to cut the Jags lead to 7-5 with 6:55 left but Jefferson put the lead back to three with a goal from Prince Oppong 30 seconds later.
Kennedy senior Adam Vodovnik took the ball on a feed behind the goal from Workman to make it 8-6 with 3:37 left.
Choudek tried to feed sophomore Andy Trenary with a pass to the backside of the Jaguars goal but they couldn’t hook up on the pass. As a result Jefferson regained possession before calling a late time out.
Mendel put a hard shot on target but Jefferson senior goalie Garrett Norberg made a glancing save off his helmet to maintain the lead with 80 seconds left.
“He’s battled back from a knee injury so he’s only played three-four games for us and that was a humongous difference, that late save,” Cater said about Norberg’s play. “A lot of credit to him, being a senior and the defense playing in front of him, Nick (Wallace), Kai (Olson) and Karl (Huther) for getting the ground ball and clearing it which wasn’t something we’ve done all season so that’s a change.”
Norberg said it was great to get back on field. His first time back was a 6-5 overtime loss to state-tourney bound Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
“Our defense played extremely well and to hold one of the highest-scoring teams in the state to four goals in regulation is great,” he said.
Jefferson moved on to face No. 2 seed Prior Lake in the semifinal, losing to the eventual section champ 18-1. The Lakers are the reigning state champions and have the fifth-seed in the state tourney. They played No. 4 Mahtomedi on Tuesday.
Thomson scored the lone Jaguars goal while Norberg made nine saves.
Two years ago the Jaguars ended Prior Lake’s impressive season and the roles were reversed last season as the Jaguars appeared to be a state-tourney favorite before Prior Lake stopped them short of state.
“So that’s another game for us to get pumped up for,” he said. “It’s another game for us to be amped up for.”
“Our kids were laser focused this week,” Cater said. “We knew who our opponent was and we knew we lost to them by one and we wanted to play well tonight.”
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