Their options were limited, to say the least for the Champlin Park girls lacrosse team.
Roll over and pack it in for the summer, or respond like the state tournament team they had become.
The Rebels were making their state tournament debut opposite of top-seeded Eden Prairie June 11, and it produced an outcome most expected.
The Eagles cruised to an 18-0 quarterfinal victory, sending Champlin Park home for an off day between games that could have easily turned somber.
That is, unless the Rebels chose the later of those two aforementioned options.
But as they gathered for practice June 12, their choice was obvious.
“We weren’t going to give up, no way,” said junior midfielder Marjorie McNamara. “We knew how far we had come, so we were going to keep fighting. We just basically acted like [the loss to Eden Prairie] didn’t happen.”
To a greater extent, Champlin Park played like it in what turned out to be the final chapter of the 2013 storybook season the girls had scripted.
The Rebels lost to Burnsville 11-9 in the consolation semifinals June 13, finishing the season with a performance worthy of a state tournament participant.
To put the result into context, Burnsville had lost to Lakeville North 16-12 in the quarterfinals; a defeat that was just the Blaze’s second of the spring.
Lakeville North went on to upset Eden Prairie 13-12 in the semifinals, meaning the Rebels loss came to a team that was defeated by just four goals to a team that took out the same Eagles that ripped through Champlin Park by that 18-0 final.
In short, the defeat to Burnsville might have been Champlin Park’s most impressive performance of a season filled with them – and it came in the shadow of a loss that was embarrassing on nearly every level.
“I am so proud of the way they came out and played,” said head coach Brian Finnvick. “It was all heart and a desire to get better. We looked at Eden Prairie and said how do we become that. It comes from hard work and preparation. They took that to heart and came out ready to play.”
Opposed to the quarterfinals when Eden Prairie jumped Champlin Park at a goal a minute pace for much of the first 10 minutes, the Rebels stuck with Burnsville from the start.
The Blaze led 2-0 early, but after a pair of goals from Katie Elder and one each from McNamara and Delaney Everett, the score was tied 4-4 with just under seven minutes left in the first half.
Maddy Scheinost’s goal in the final minute ensured a 6-6 draw through the first 25 minutes, and the Rebels even took a brief lead when Everett scored with 13:48 to play to make it an 8-7 game.
Burnsville would score four of the final five goals though, pulling away in the final five minutes for an 11-9 victory at Chaska High School.
When it was over, Finnvick gathered the girls for one final meeting. He directed his hand towards the scoreboard, noting how close the final tally was in a game against a team that was seeded fifth when the tournament started two days earlier.
To get to this point, Champlin Park had to upend Coon Rapids in the Section 7 final, and then make back-to-back bus trips deep into the southwest suburbs. But in that moment, it was clear that the Rebels had travelled so much further along the way.
“We really did,” said Finnvick. “I can’t even really put how far we have come into words. But now that we are here, our next goal is to take it a little further. Our underclassmen are already excited about training this summer, and doing everything they can to become better lacrosse players. The number of kids that get to participate in a state tournament is a small number, so just to be here is a huge accomplishment. But now they want more, and that is good.”
Champlin Park finished its season with a 9-7 overall record. In all, 14 seniors were on this year’s roster, but the team should be in good hands next spring.
McNamara had 46 goals this season. Everett finished with 36. Edler had 25 and Scheinost 16.
All will return next season.
“This gives us something to build off of,” said McNamara.
Contact Nick Clark at [email protected]