About the Hornets: When the coaching staff kept only two seniors on the varsity roster, observers spoke of Edina's success in the future tense. But coaches and players never settled for the concept of rebuilding. "Being from Edina and having such high expectations we try to be self-motivated," junior forward Louie Nanne said. "The challenge has been helping the sophomores and freshmen adapt to the team and style of play. A lot of them came up from bantams being the top player and tried to stick-handle through ever single person." Players accepted roles, freshman Dylan Malmquist (25 goals) and sophomore Connor Hurley (24) provided the scoring punch, and the Hornets made their sixth consecutive state appearance. "The thing with these guys is, they are excited to play the game," coach Curt Giles said. "They are a fun team to coach, they really are."
About the Red Knights: Known for its high-flying scorers, Benilde-St. Margaret's advanced to its first state tournament in four seasons on the play of its defense. The Red Knights allowed more than one goal only once in the past six games and posted four shutouts. Of course, with Grant Besse (program career record of 107 goals), Dan Labosky (second all-time in single-season assists) and Christian Horn (200 career points), the Red Knights can fill a scoresheet. They are playing with fuller hearts as well. Sophomore Jack Jablonski, who suffered a spinal cord injury getting checked from behind in a December game, attended each of the Red Knights' section playoff games. "Jack gives us a little extra boost sometimes," senior Jake O'Borsky said. "He's out there battling and we're out there battling for him." The Red Knights were battle-tested in Section 6. "The section champion out of here does pretty well," coach Ken Pauly said. "Eden Prairie won twice and Minnetonka was a runner-up. Hopefully, we can finish better than we did the last time."
Did you know? Eight members of the Edina team and two members of Benilde-St. Margaret's played on the Edina peewee 'A' team that won the state championship in 2008 in Willmar.
DAVID LA VAQUE
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