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Still seeking first win, no upsets for Raiders

Only in its second year as a varsity high school program, the Hastings girls lacrosse team is learning on the fly.

Last week, the Raiders took their lumps on the field, but showed progress and determination, according to Hastings head coach Nicole Peterson.

"In all the games, my assistant coach (Tracy Paskey) and I have been extremely impressed and very happy with our girls," Peterson said. "Even if they are down by one point or 10, they never give up. They keep fighting trying to defend the opponents, save shots and score goals."

In its past three Suburban East Conference games, Hastings (0-12; 0-9 SEC) fell 17-7 to White Bear Lake, 21-9 to Roseville and 21-0 to Stillwater.

The Raiders began the stretch against White Bear Lake (5-6; 3-5 SEC) last Tuesday, May 14, at home.

Junior midfielder Hannah Moldenhauer led the way for Hastings offensively, netting four goals. Also, senior midfielder Erika Haviland scored two goals and eighth-grade forward Megan Shoen scored one goal.

The following day, Wednesday, May 15, Hastings played host to Roseville (4-7; 4-4 SEC). Seven different players scored for Hastings in the loss. Senior midfielder Haley Berg led the Raiders' offense in the game, scoring a team-high three goals. Also scoring a goal apiece for Hastings was: Moldenhauer, Shoen, sophomore forwards Gabbie Riveness and Lizzy Pagel, junior forward Katelyn Anderson, and sophomore defender Laura Leifeld.

"Roseville was an extremely fun game to watch," Peterson said. "The girls were so into the game and even though we did not win, it was the highest goal scoring that we have done in the short history of us being a school sport."

Most recently, Hastings suffered a loss to Stillwater on the road on Monday, May 20. The Ponies (11-1; 9-0 SEC) lead the conference and have dominated nearly every opponent this season. Stillwater has 182 goals for and 51 against in its 12 games - good for a 15-2 per game differential.

Despite the lopsided scores, Peterson was quick to praise the play of sophomore goalie Rachel Peterson.

"The game results do not show how outstanding of a goalie she has been," coach Peterson said. "Parents, players and coaches from other teams are coming up to me telling me how remarkable of a goalie she is. She has so much potential and I am looking forward to the next two years with her on the team."

The regular season came to an end on Tuesday, May 21, with a game against non-conference foe Owatonna after the Gazette went to press. Owatonna was Hastings' first-ever opponent last year and coach Peterson was looking forward to the re-match and seeing how her squad has progressed since then.

Next up for the Raiders are the Section 4 playoffs, where Stillwater will be the overwhelming favorite to advance to the state tournament. The postseason begins on Wednesday, May 29, with matchups yet to be determined.

"Our stats do not show how incredibly hard we are working and much we have improved from the beginning of the season and even last year," Peterson said. "This is impressive due to the inconvenience of having to practice the first half of the season in a gym and playing eight straight games without a break or practice. Most girls didn't even know what a lacrosse field was until their first game. There have been a few freshmen that have really learned a lot and have figured out the game. In the past five games or so, we have been bringing them up to play on varsity and they have been doing outstanding."