Girls lacrosse season underway

Finishing the 2022 season, Stillwater lacrosse had placed 5th in the state with a win over Elk River Zimmerman in a tight game (7-6) ending in favor of the Stillwater girls. However for the 2023 season, head coach Ali Schmidts wants to build off of that win taking the momentum into the new season.

“We have high expectations this year and want to build on where we left off for the season,” head coach Ali Schmidts said.

Preparing them for the new season are senior captains Tori Liljeren, Illiana Balok and Keira Jelinek. Although the snow has covered the fields behind the high school, that has not stopped the team from practicing indoors at the Rec Center. The girls have been putting in tremendous amounts of effort to show coaches that they are season ready.

“It’s so good to be back at captains and getting everyone on the same level,” Liljegren said.

Despite losing 10 seniors in the 2022 season, the team has exceptional players returning for the season, along with younger classes working harder than ever and increasing the talent.

“We have a lot of returners that helped us out a lot last year so that will give us good momentum going into this year,” Liljegren said.

The past couple years the girls lacrosse program has lost 10 or more seniors each year. With the depth this sport at Stillwater has, it makes it easy for underclassmen to fill those spots. Mady Richert is a sophomore who has been waiting eagerly while putting in the work out of season, whether that be in Altius or on her club team. Walking into tryouts with confidence is key to any sport.

“I think all pressure is the same because we’re on the same team so we all have to put in the same amount of effort,” Richert said.

Stillwater is also recognized by students and families for how “tight-knight” and “family-like” the girls are throughout the season. Having unity in a team is another aspect of sports some might not realize or recognize. Richert explained, “I think that we’re going to do very well because there is just a really good team chemistry.”

Schmidt is just one out of the many coaches on the staff that believes that having a good team chemistry can take the team a long way. This year the staff are offering new opportunities  for the girls lacrosse team. These opportunities include going to college lacrosse games and getting to see their sport at another level. Schmidts believes this will be “good exposure for the girls”. Another opportunity will be getting sessions with professionals in the athletic training community and focusing on females mental health in athletes.

This year there have been new schools added into the mix for Stillwater’s schedule. Adding schools like Lakeville-South, who are the defending champs, and Prior Lake, will add to the competition to section 4. However there has been controversial talk surrounding private schools like CDH and Gentry Academy, “I just don’t think there should be a mix of private and public schools, especially if they have that many schools why not just make their own section,” Liljegren explained.

The Stillwater girls lacrosse program will prepare for their first game and home opener on April, 12.