Benilde-St. Margaret's (Minn.) Hopes Tough Slate Pays off

By Brett Manney

There could be a sign in the Benilde-St. Margaret's School lacrosse team locker room that says, "To be the best you have to beat the best." The Red Knights have the number one strength of schedule in the state of Minnesota according to LaxPower, and that is the way head coach Colin Mulcahy wanted it.

"I try to get a tough schedule for a reason," Mulcahy said. "I want the team to play at the highest level and to play the best competition."

The Red Knights are two years removed from winning the state championship when they finished an impressive 17-0. Last year they struggled, finishing the season 5-7, and currently are 5-5 this year with a young squad featuring only two seniors receiving considerable playing time.

The 2009 season started with a fierce challenge and 18-11 loss to Illinois powerhouse Lake Forest (PR: 96.1). Mulcahy wasted no time giving his young squad a test in the first game against a talented out of state opponent.

"It was a great challenge that I was looking forward to," Mulcahy said. "This game gave the team tremendous experience playing an experienced team in Lake Forest. I wanted the team to learn from playing against a quality opponent who knows how to win."

After the Lake Forest game, the Red Knights suffered tough losses this season to Minnetonka, Blake, Breck, and Bloom Jefferson. All of those squads are ranked in Minnesota's top 10 according to LaxPower, and have a combined record of 51-7. With such a young team, bumps along the road are expected. But Mulcahy praised the efforts of two upperclassman who emerged as playmakers on opposite sides of the field.

Junior attackman Bailey Dodds is the Red Knights' biggest offensive threat. Furthermore, the exciting attackman contributed to all nine points in the recent 14-9 loss to Bloom Jefferson, racking up seven goals and two assists.

"He is a gamer and comes through for us when we need a play," said Mulcahy.

Senior goaltender Patrick Gilligan has been the captain of the ship, mentoring all the players and a starting defense which consists of a senior, junior, and sophomore. The tri-captain and Colby College recruit has been exceptional this year.

"He is the field leader and one of, if not the, top goalie in the state," said Mulcahy.

The regular season will conclude this week for the Red Knights with the postseason just around the corner. A lot of coaches like to schedule many tough teams hoping the regular season games will pay dividends when the playoffs come. Mulcahy believes the same.

"I scheduled the teams I did because when playoffs come I want my team to play at a higher level knowing what they need to do to succeed," he said.

The young squad has already faced the best the state has to offer and hopes to be peaking at the right time. Unfortunately for the Red Knights, they will most likely have win some tough games to even get to the section final. But Mulcahy knows his young, talented squad can compete with anybody when they play a full 48 minutes.

The road ahead will be rough but it will be nothing the Red Knights have not seen this season. Despite having the toughest schedule in the state, the Red Knights have been playing great lacrosse and look to improve in the following weeks. The finest teams shine in the playoffs and coach Mulcahy's squad has a chance to beat the best and be the best in 2009.


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