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Girls' Lacrosse: Raptors advance to Section 3 championship

Junior Chloe Heiting of East Ridge scores to give the Raptors a 13-10 lead late in the second half. Photo by John Molene1 / 5
East Ridge sophomore attacker Katie Flynn makes a run up the sidelines in the first half against visiting United. Photo by John Molene2 / 5
Annika Frazer of the Raptors powers in a hard shot to close United's lead to 8-6 just after the half. Photo by John Molene3 / 5
East Ridge goalie Taylor Miles knocks down a United shot early in the first half. Photo by John Molene4 / 5
East Ridge's Grace Heiting fights for the ball against United's Ella Matticks. Photo by John Molene5 / 5

It was a tale of two wildly different halves Tuesday.

The visiting United, made up of Visitation and St. Paul Academy and Summit School, controlled the first half.

Host East Ridge then completely turned it around and dominated the second half, scoring a 15-11 win in the semifinals of Section 3 girls lacrosse.

East Ridge outscored the visitors 10-3 after the halftime break to advance.

"We changed up our strategy a little bit going into the second half, but this team has been a great second-half team the whole year," East Ridge head coach Luke Beaudoin said. "In this game, they just turned it up. It was really just an increase in everything. Just momentum and everybody just kind of brought their mood up. We were ready to go the second half, and it was a great half."

The second-seeded Raptors (12-3) will play top-seeded and ninth-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall (13-2) in the section finals with the winner advancing to state. That game will be played Thursday at East Ridge, starting at 7 p.m.

Cretin advanced with an easy 19-8 win over Eagan Tuesday. The Raiders have only lost twice this season—both to ranked teams—and each by a single goal early in the spring. The Raiders defeated the Raptors 14-7 in midseason.

United surged to leads of 2-0, 6-2 and then 8-5 at the half.

But something clicked for the Raptors after the break, both on offense and defense. East Ridge outscored United 4-1 and tied the game at 9-all with 17:14 to play on a goal by Grace Heiting.

"I think our team really decided to step up and use all of our skills and we knew we could beat this team," said eighth-grade goalie Taylor Miles, who allowed just three second-half goals, the last of which was meaningless. "Our defense was a lot better. Our defense was doing what they're supposed to do."

It was 10-all when the Raptors went on another, and this time decisive, spurt. The Raptors powered in five straight goals to take command of the game. Heiting scored twice in the second half surge, while Katie Flynn and Chloe Heiting also added goals.

"I think the key to our second half was really being aggressive, getting the ball and being smart with our possessions," Beaudoin said. "In the second half, the big difference was that we really focused on what we wanted to do with the ball and make sure that everything we did had a good purpose being it.

"As a coach, this is a game I love to see us have before we go into another hard game," Beaudoin added. "This build up where we battled back from adversity, gets some momentum under us and takes us into the next game with some speed."

Cretin will present a challenge in the next round, however.

"I think we know that we can reach a level that we need to be section champions or go to the state tournament or definitely be contenders in this next game," said junior midfielder Grace Heiting. "I think (this win) will really give us the confidence to know that we can even step up. We've had some comeback games throughout the season. And I think every time gets you more fired up."