BY DAVE PEDERSEN
The Delano Rage U15 boys lacrosse team won the Northwest District playoff title game over Maple Grove to advance to the state tournament in Eden Prairie last weekend.
At state, Delano got off to a good start with a 2-1 victory over Waconia, but lost to White Bear Lake 5-1 and Spring Lake Park 7-3 to be eliminated.
To get to state the Rage had to get past Maple Grove. After a scoreless first half when Delano dominated ball control, Steven Hajas finished a great run with an unassisted goal.
Coach Damon Kocina said how Seth Hamlin followed with three goals for a natural hat-trick. Josh Miller and Ben Nelson also scored to make the final 6-0.
At state Saturday, Kocina said players had some tourney butterflies, as did he. Despite controlling much of the play in the first quarter, Waconia scored at the end of the session.
In the second quarter, Christian Erickson dodged three Waconia defenders to tie the game. Midway through the fourth quarter, Reid Paczkowski scored to give Delano the 2-1 win. Waconia put on a full-court press in the waning minutes but could not break through the Rage defense.
White Bear Lake was able to shut down Delano’s offense to win 5-1 in the second round. Erickson scored early in the third quarter as Delano pulled to within 2-1. WBL responded by scoring twice more in the period and cruised to victory. Kocina said his players committed no penalties in the game.
After a four-hour break, Delano played in the final game of the day, falling to Spring Lake Park 7-3. Early in the third quarter, Delano got on the board on a goal by Seth Hamlin. Justin Daly and Reid Paczkowski also scored.
“The seven goals scored on us that final game was the most given up in a single game all season,” adds Kocina. “We also only had two penalties during this game.”
Kocina said the team achieved all three of his goals. He wanted to have a winning record, make it to state and “complete the season with a sense of improvement, accomplishment, and team camaraderie.”
Justin Daly catches a pass from a Delano lacrosse teammate. (Photo by Nate Will)