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Girls lacrosse: Tigers finish fourth in first state appearance

It took the top two teams in the state to finally put an end to Farmington’s run at the state girls lacrosse tournament.

Making the program’s first-ever appearance at state, the Tigers overcame an early three-goal deficit to Stillwater 10-9 in a first-round overtime thriller before bowing out to eventual champion Eden Prairie in the semifinals last Thursday, June 15. Their memorable 15-4 season came to an end with a loss to second-ranked South Suburban Conference rival Prior Lake in Saturday’s third-place game in Chanhassen.

The setback ended the careers of a group of seniors who led the Tigers to a 51-17 record over the last four years, three section runner-up finishes and a fourth-place state tournament finish.

“I'm so proud of the whole team on a historic season. We have been referring to them as trailblazers, paving the way for the next to come through the program and going where we have never been before,” Farmington coach Steph LaVictoire said. “We never lost at home, never lost in our white jerseys, only lost two in a row one time, won the section championship, won our first state game, had three all state athletes, but the real success is the bond this team has. It's hard to duplicate the camaraderie we have here, it's pretty special.”

The Tigers ended up falling behind in all three games at state, but they were able to overcome their slow start last Tuesday in Minnetonka and defeat Stillwater for the second time this season. They trailed 5-2 at halftime and still faced an 8-6 deficit until Josie Laube capitalized on a penalty by scoring a goal and senior Kamryn Corraro notched her fifth goal of the game to make it 8-8.

Lexi Laube then scored on a pass from Ashley Steffes with 1:25 to go to give the Tigers a 9-8 lead, but Stillwater answered with the game-tying goal with eight seconds to go.

After piling up four assists in regulation, Steffes notched the game-winning goal early in overtime, flinging the ball off the back of the Stillwater goalkeeper and into the net.

“We were down most of the game, but it went exactly how it did the first time. At halftime we were in hole and we knew we needed to limit turnovers and capitalize on their turnovers, that's what we did,” LaVictoire said. “We were mentally checked in and never gave up on each other. nobody was worried when we were down, we knew we were going to battle back. The OT goal that went in was referred to as a ‘fluke’, but we earned it. We were going to score first either off that goal or a different way.”

FHS goalie Lexie Grove stopped seven Stillwater shots to preserve the win.

In the semifinals, powerhouse Eden Prairie started the game with 14 unanswered first-half goals on its way to a 19-3 win.

Corraro put an end to the shutout with a goal 30 seconds into the second half and Josie Laube and Christine Steffes each added goals.

“We weren't doing the things we normally do; lost ground ball battles, and dropped passes,” LaVictoire said. “I can't remember a time we have ever been shutout in half, so this was a new one for us. The silver lining is we lost to the state champs that win it almost every year.”

The Tigers faced another big deficit early against Prior Lake. The Lakers jumped out to an 8-2 halftime lead and earned third place in their third straight state trip with a 14-4 victory.

Corraro scored one of the goals and was named to the all-tournament team. She was also one of three members named to the all-state team along with Ashley Steffes and Lexi Stanley.

A season to remember

The girls lacrosse team’s fourth-place finish at its first-ever state tournament capped off the most accomplished year of girls sports in Farmington High School history.

In the fall, cross-country runners Anna Fenske and Lauren Peterson placed 1-2 at the Class 2A state cross-country meet. Fenske became the first-ever Tiger state champion in the sport.

In the pool, the Tiger swimmers won their fourth True Team section title in seven years and went on to send five events to the state meet.

Over the winter, the girls hockey team qualified for state for the first time in a decade and went 2-1 to win the consolation championship. Amanda Davenport and Lauren Slayton added top-10 finishes at the state gymnastics meet, as well.

The success continued this spring. In addition to the girls lacrosse team’s fourth-place finish, the girls track team captured its first-ever section title and went on to place second at state, the program’s best finish ever. Fenske and Peterson captured state titles in the distance races and Emma Record, Myiah Scott and Davenport all reached the state podium.

The softball team outdid them all, winning the school’s first-ever state team championship. Unranked to start the season, the Tigers went 24-3 and defeated the state’s top two ranked teams in the state tournament. The historic season came to an end when Emma Frost hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of the championship game to defeat Anoka 1-0.