by Bob San
SUN PRESS Newspapers
With top players returning on both offense and defense, the Osseo/Park Center boys’ lacrosse team is looking forward to a strong season.
OPC has 12 returning starters/letterwinners. They are sophomore midfield Boone Almquist (22 goals, 17 assists, 99 ground balls), junior defense Colton Alseth, senior attack Ryan Bonsen, senior defense Nick Brecht (started all 14 games with 23 ground balls), sophomore attack Noah Fleming (eight goals, one assist in five games), junior attack Braedon Geraghty (three goals, one assist in 10 games), junior midfield Mason Hautala (17 goals, eight assists and 38 ground balls), senior and two-year captain Jerald Joseph (started in all 11 games played, 38 ground balls), senior defense Isaac Lessard (started all 13 games played, 26 ground balls), senior attack Jeremy Nelson (10 goals, one assist in 11 games), senior midfield and two-year captain Derrick North (eight goals, one assist), and senior defense Zach Wiome.
Newcomers to the team are senior midfield Ben Asante, junior midfield John Rapinac, sophomore defense Kordell Russell, senior midfield Dustin Stelton, sophomore midfield Alex Yahn, sophomore goalie Taylor Comstock and junior goalie Gavin Olson.
OPC coach Derrin Nelson feels his team should be strong both ways as it is led by some talented players.
“Almquist was All-Conference last year and is one of the top midfielders in the state,” Nelson said. “Hautala and Joseph were All-Conference Honorable Mention last year. We have a strong core of defense returning with Alseth, Brecht, Joseph, Lessard, Wiome and feel this is our biggest strength. We have some great offense players that should make our offense stronger than last year.”
Nelson said the team’s weakness is its lack of experience in goal.
“We are very inexperience in goal with two new goalies battling for the varsity spot,” he said. “Depth is a concern with a lot of inexperience on the second teams. We must remain healthy.”
Nelson is looking for his team to improve on last year’s 5-9 record (4-5 for sixth place in conference). The Oriole lost to Roseville 10-8 in the section quarterfinals. Nelson named Champlin Park as the favorite to win the conference with a number of team, including OPC, chasing it.
“If the team can play up to its potential and play a lot faster, we can finish in the top half of the conference,” Nelson said. “We have a lot of hard working kids that are going to put in their all. We have to play much faster than we did last year. Staying healthy is a must and we need one of our goalies to win the job and run with it. We have a lot of questions going into the season, but I feel if the kids work to their potential we will be playing at our best at the end of the season and will be a tough opponent for anyone in sections.”
OPC next hosts Totino Grace Monday, April 21, at Park Center.
Contact Bob San at firstname.lastname@example.org