The Chanhassen boys lacrosse team is heading back to the state tournament.
The Storm, No. 2 seed in Section 2, beat the top-seeded Shakopee Sabers 8-6 June 8. This is the second-consecutive section championship for Chanhassen. Chanhassen finished the regular season 11-2 and was No. 2 in the state in the May 23 rankings. Shakopee finished 12-1 but was ranked No. 4 in those rankings.
“It’s great. It was our goal all along to make it back to the state tournament. We want to make that the expectation of our program, rather than a dream or a hope, so that it almost becomes an annual tradition,” head coach Jon Junker said.
The Storm are looking to redeem themselves after their run to the state tournament last season. Chanhassen was the second seed in last year’s tournament but fell 12-8 to Lakeville North in the quarterfinals.
“We also want to show this year we can go all the way and win it all. We have something to prove and want to show one of the top teams if not the top team,” Junker said.
Chanhassen returned most of its state tournament roster for the 2022 season. With the experience from last season, Junker believes the team is more prepared for what is to come against some of the state’s best teams.
“Last year set the stage for these guys, playing at that level. I wouldn’t say it was overwhelming for them, but the season did end sooner than we had hoped. With us bringing back most of the roster, I think that definitely helps them know what to expect,” Junker said.
The Storm’s path back to the state tournament was filled with a mixed bag of section games. After Chanhassen beat Chaska 21-2 in the first round June 2, Junker said they were unsure what they would get in their matchup against Buffalo, the No. 3 seed in the section.
Despite playing only one ranked opponent in the regular season, Buffalo finished 13-0 and was ranked fifth in the state. Chanhassen took care of business in that matchup, winning 19-6.
Carter Van Holland has been one of the offensive players leading the way for the Storm throughout the postseason. The junior has scored 12 goals and added as many assists total during the section tournament. Junior goalie Grant Penttinen has also been a strong player defensively with a .668 save percentage during the season.
One element that will be important for the team’s success to continue into the state tournament is team camaraderie. Earlier in the season, senior captain Zach Helland said the team needed to understand their individual responsibilities and hold each other accountable.
“Having camaraderie really helps us work hard without taking criticism personally,” Helland said. “We’ve all bought in to doing our job, knowing our roles and not trying to do anything out of our skillset.”
The boys state tournament will take place June 14, 16 and 18 between Roseville Area and Stillwater Area High Schools.