Nick Orosco

As a sophomore, Nick Orosco was one of Northfield’s most dangerous attacking options. This season, Orosco is part of a four-player senior class aiming to defend the 2019 conference title. (File Photo/southernminn.com)

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.”

ROSTER

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

2021 SCHEDULE

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.

Reach Regional Sports Editor Michael Hughes at 645-1106 or follow him on Twitter @APGSoMnHughes. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

Sports Editor for the Northfield News. Also a California native looking for tips on surviving the winter and an Indiana University grad on the quest for a good breaded pork tenderloin.

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