The majority of the 2019 Northfield boys lacrosse team that finished undefeated in the Big 9 Conference is gone due to the graduation losses endured during the past two years.
That squad is not a distant memory, however, and a handful of players that were young starters and contributors on that team are back for this season in leadership positions with the goal of replicating that same level of success.
“We have a pretty solid junior and senior class that I think will lead very well, and we’ve got some young players that are showing up in tryouts that might crack that varsity roster as well,” Northfield coach Jeff Wright said. “All around, I think we have some really good talent and will be able to compete quite well this year.”
Among those returning contributors are junior Spencer Klotz, junior Emerson Herbig, senior Nick Orosco, senior Isak Johnson and senior Matt DeBuse, while senior Josh Kruger comes back with varsity experience from 2018 after he missed the 2019 season while recovering from a knee injury.
Junior Nolan Nagy is also ready for his turn in net, after sitting the last three seasons behind Christoph Tisdale, who’s now playing at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul.
Wright expects that core to be surrounded with a young cast of new contributors that are starting to show themselves after the team gathered for its first practice Monday, and had the potential to emerge as varsity contributors before last season was cancelled.
“We really were looking forward to last year for those that were returning and the new players to varsity to really showcase their talent after we won the Big 9 championship in 2019,” Wright said. “This season, it’s going to be a season where we really see where we’re at as far as our talent and our depth.”
That depth might be the key for achieving the team’s goals of defending its Big 9 title and advancing past the section semifinals for the first time in program history.
After a year off, Wright said the landscape in both the conference and the section is relatively wide open with no team or coach knowing much about any other, although Lakeville North and Lakeville South figure to be the section favorites once again, while Owatonna assumes its place as the biggest opposition between Northfield and the conference crown.
“We know we have a bullseye on our back at least as far as the conference,” Wright said. “As far as depth, I don’t think that anyone knows how good this team is or how good that team is. It’ll be interesting as far as who the top teams are and which teams will make it to the top.”
Dylan Dietz, senior
Isak Johnson, senior
Josh Kruger, senior
Nick Orosco, senior
Matt Bell, junior
Matt DeBuse, junior
Kaden Ernst, junior
Prescott Garlie, junior
Emerson Herbig, junior
Spencer Klotz, junior
Braeden Kluzak, junior
Scott Mullin, junior
Nolan Nagy, junior
Alex Sparks, junior
Blake Foster, sophomore
Ryder Mingo, sophomore
Nic Patterson, sophomore
Jacob Rosa, sophomore
Wyatt Westergren, sophomore
Noah Ackerman, freshman
Ty Frank, freshman
Sebastian Jenkinson, freshman
Cameron Mellgren, freshman
Cayden Monson, freshman
Sullivan Nuebel, freshman
Cooper Rand, freshman
Tretyton Shimota, freshman
Camden Waters, freshman
April 16 — vs. Irondale, 7 p.m.
April 19 — at Rochester Century, 7:30 p.m.
April 22 — vs. Owatonna, 7:30 p.m.
April 26 — at Rochester Mayo, 7:30 p.m.
April 29 — vs. Mankato, 7:30 p.m.
May 6 — at Owatonna, 7:30 p.m.
May 10 — vs. Rochester Century, 7:30 p.m.
May 13 — vs. Rochester Mayo, 7:30 p.m.
May 20 — at Mankato, 6 p.m.
May 24 — Hastings, 7 p.m.
May 25 — at Minneapolis South, 7 p.m.