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Girls lacrosse: Tigers dethrone South in Section 1

The senior members of the Farmington girls lacrosse team have put a lot of effort into building a winning tradition over the last four years. But until last Tuesday, that tradition had also included running up against the brick wall that was Lakeville South in the section tournament.

The Tigers amassed a 36-13 record from 2014 to 2016, but all three of those seasons featured a loss to South during the South Suburban Conference season and another one in the Section 1 playoffs.

Farmington’s four seniors - Ashley Steffes, Kamryn Corraro, Lexi Stanley and Ashley Hessler - got one last chance at the Cougars in last Tuesday’s Section 1 finals at Tiger Stadium and they weren’t about to let it slip away. The foursome accounted for all 10 goals - including a school-record eight from Corraro - while leading the fifth-ranked Tigers to the program’s first ever state tournament berth with a 10-8 victory over South.

“We went around and around with Lakeville South the last few years and managed to get by them this time,” Farmington coach Steph LaVictoire said. “This was an emotional win. “It feels good to finally blaze the trail for the future of FHS lacrosse. We knew we were close the last few years to making the tournament. This was more than a trip to the tournament, it was hope and goals for our future as well. I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people when I say I'm proud of how hard we have worked and how the team is representing our school.”

LaVictoire singled out the play of each senior for the different roles they played in securing the victory. She credited Stanley for her “gritty” play and effort chasing down ground balls, Corraro for her offensive aggressiveness, Steffes for her heart and for drawing the defense away from Corraro, and Hessler for quarterbacking the team and managing the clock after the Tigers pulled ahead late.

The lead came courtesy of Corraro. The back and forth scoring stopped with about 13 minutes to go and the score remained tied at 8-8 for nearly nine minutes before Corraro attacked the net and tossed in the go-ahead goal with 4:25 to play. About a minute later she scored again to put the Tigers up by two.

Corraro also came up big in the final seconds of the first half, hauling in a long, high pass from Steffes and slinging it past the South goaltender to tie the score at 4-4 with seven-tenths of a second to go before the break. It was one of three assists for Steffes.

After the game, LaVictoire called that tying goal the turning point of the contest.

Goaltender Lexie Grove finished with six saves for Farmington.

The Tigers took a 14-2 record into the first round of the state tournament Tuesday in Minnetonka. As the No. 4 seed they faced fifth-seeded Stillwater, a team they defeated 7-6 on the road in the third game of the season back on April 20. The tournament’s top three seeds are Eden Prairie, Prior Lake and Blake.

Win or lose, the Tigers play again Thursday, June 15, in Chanhassen.