Boys lacrosse: St. Thomas Academy rallies past Mahtomedi into state semifinals

It’s been a season of firsts for St. Thomas Academy. The Cadets won their first Metro East Conference title, their first Section 4 title and on Tuesday, their first state tournament game — in large part because of a goaltender playing his first season of high school lacrosse.

McClain Beaudette stopped 13 shots, and teammate Luke Williams scored five goals in an 11-8, come-from-behind quarterfinal victory against rival Mahtomedi at Chanhassen High School.

“We’ve sort of been checking boxes all year,” said Beaudette, a junior who made 11 of his saves in the second half. The Cadets can check off another box in Thursday’s semifinals at Minnetonka, where they will play the winner of the late game between Centennial and Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

St. Thomas (15-2) played nearly the entire third quarter down a man, and about 90 seconds down two, after the Zephyrs scored two quick goals to go ahead 8-6. It could have gotten out of hand; instead, the Cadets earned some momentum by keeping Mahtomedi scoreless with an advantage.

Three Cadets players were flagged for penalties totaling 7 1/2 minutes.

“Our man-down defense was really tough,” said sophomore Baker Reding. “Obviously, it’s really tough to play a man down almost a whole quarter, so there’s some things to clean up. But they played hard. The goalie kept the ball out of the net, and that’s all it took.”

St, Thomas responded by scoring all five goals in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead goal from Reding, whose shot off the crossbar put the Cadets up 8-7 with 4:01 remaining.

“I didn’t think it went in, but when the ref blew the whistle and put his hands up, I was pretty stoked,” Reding said.

Said Williams: “When they called that a goal, I think the whole sideline said, ‘We’ve got this. Let’s keep it rolling.’ And that’s exactly what we did.”

Reding added a goal with 2:23 left, and Williams sealed it with his fifth goal at 1:06.

Connor Stoke, Levin Lemke and Nathaniel Graslewicz each scored twice for Mahtomedi (11-6), a state semifinalist last season that shares a conference, and many coaching ties, with the Cadets.

“We’re intertwined in a hundred different ways,” St. Thomas coach Luke Marks said. “We’ve raised our level of lacrosse at St. Thomas because of a program like Mahtomedi; you have to, otherwise you’re not going to be relevant.”


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