2012 Spring Preview: Woodbury girls lacrosse team set to begin new eraMegan Ahlers is the head coach of the first Woodbury Royals lacrosse team this season – and she’s excited about it.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Megan Ahlers is the head coach of the first Woodbury Royals lacrosse team this season – and she’s excited about it.
Since its inception into the Minnesota State High School League, the girls lacrosse program in District 833 area operated as a cooperative between Park and Woodbury. However, the addition of East Ridge in 2009 called for a re-examination of the situation. In December of 2010, the high school league approved the district’s proposal for a Woodbury-East Ridge cooperative and a Park-only program and the teams operated that way in 2010 and 2011.
However, this year, all three District 833 public high schools will have their own girls – and boys – lacrosse teams for the first time.
“We are looking forward to working hard and coming out strong in this first season as an independent team,” she said.
Just hired in early March, Ahlers brings experience to the Royals lacrosse team as a player and coach. Most recently she was head coach of the St. Cloud area girls lacrosse team. Also, for the past 10 years, she has been active in the women’s lacrosse community, first as an athlete at Stillwater High School and St. Benedict and most recently as the President of the North Central Women’s Lacrosse League.
Last year, Woodbury played in a cooperative with East Ridge to form the East Ridge/Woodbury Griffins and was coached by Kara Vier. Following a 1-12 season two years ago, the Griffins showed improvement last season, improving to 5-7 overall and 1-6 in the Suburban East Conference.
The two former cooperative teams – which are conference and section opponents – face off against each other for the first time at East Ridge, Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m.
“It will be exciting to play East Ridge,” Ahlers said.
The Woodbury-East Ridge cooperative girls lacrosse team concluded its season with an 11-10 loss to Benilde St. Margaret’s in the first round of Section 5 playoffs at Royal Stadium.
The Royal Raptors said good-bye to six seniors last year— leading scorer Stephanie Bainbridge, team captain Jackie Hegg, Katie Schulte, Elizabeth Straub, Ashley Hohenstein and Erin Driscoll.
Ahlers said all of her players are key this season.
“They each bring a unique quality to the team and it will be great to watch them all come together in a unified front,” Ahlers said.
Woodbury will have rotating captains this year.
“Being a new program, I wanted all of the girls to have leadership roles,” Ahlers said.
It’s expected that the top competition in the Suburban East Conference this year will be Stillwater, Cretin-Derham Hall, Mounds View and Roseville. With a number of powerful west-metro teams adorning Section 5, the postseason won’t be easy. Defending state champion Blake is expected to be the team to beat in the section.
Woodbury opens the season on Monday, April 16, at home against Forest Lake. The section tournament starts just over a month later – beginning on Wednesday, May 23.
“Every team will bring challenges so we aren’t taking any games lightly,” Ahlers said.