It was Audrey Collins to the rescue.
The senior did more than just step in when needed, however, as the three-year goalie returned to the net and helped the Brainerd Warriors girls lacrosse program secure its first victory as a Minnesota State High School League program Saturday, April 27, as the Warriors defeated Proctor 7-6 at Adamson Field in Brainerd.
Entering her final season, Collins wanted to play different positions. But in a pinch she was ready to put on the goalie pads.
"My first thought definitely was alright, I can do this," Collins said. "I didn't really want to. I've played for three years so I know my confidence level can be up there with my other sports I can, but I asked to play out this year because I got thrown into it (goalie) as a ninth grader. This year, I just asked coach if I could step out and try a few different positions and kind of see what the whole fun game was about since I've always been stuck in the net.
"When he asked me, I just told him whatever you need me to do. I figured I would do it one more time. Now, I'm not so sure that was the last one."
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- Sport: Girls lacrosse
- Position: Goalie
- Year: Senior
- Age: 18
- Height: 5-foot-5
- Career highlight: Being in the net first win
- Other sports: Tennis, Nordic skiing
- Grade-point average: 3.3
- Favorite class: Pottery and art
- Favorite food: Mom's egg rolls
- Favorite movie: "Monsters, Inc."
- Favorite TV show: "Grey's Anatomy"
- Favorite website or app: YouTube
- Favorite restaurant: Prairie Bay
- Future plans: Attend emergency medical technician program at CLC
- Favorite athlete: Roger Federer
- Parents: Amy and John Collins
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Brainerd head coach Todd Brown obliged his senior's wishes and was grooming eighth grader Macy Peterson for the job. However, Peterson had another obligation and couldn't make Saturday's game.
"Going into the game we had kind of a conflict," Brown said. "The goalie that we were going to go with wasn't able to make the game so I talked with Audrey and asked her if she would be willing to jump back and play. She said yes she would. She got back in and didn't have much practice the week leading up to the game.
"She picked up where she left off. She played goal for us for about three years. She looked comfortable back in the net."
Collins collected 17 saves on 23 shot attempts for a save percentage of 74%.
"She seemed very focused back there on Saturday," Brown said. "She gave up some goals during the game and you could tell she felt that she should have stopped them, but that's the game of lacrosse. It's not like a goalie save percentage in hockey where you're going to save 90% or better. A lacrosse goalie, with a save percentage of 50%, is pretty good.
"I could tell she was into the game and when we got out to the early lead I think that just really helped her confidence. You could see she wanted to do whatever she could to help us stay on top in that game. She made a lot of good saves."
In its inaugural season in the MSHSL, Brainerd finished winless. Collins played 450 minutes in net and made 107 saves on 221 shot attempts.
Getting peppered like that was one reason Collins wanted to switch to a different position, but she was willing to help the team anyway she could Saturday.
"The first thing I said to my coach was, 'You better give me one heck of a warmup,' because I hadn't put the pads on for the entire season," Collins said. "It had probably been a year since I actually put pads on and played goalie. But you do it for three years it's like riding a bike.You just get back on and remember how to do it."
Brainerd jumped out to a three-goal lead at the half and the excitement and pressure was mounting as the clocked ticked down toward the end of the game.
"At halftime, we talked about how a three-goal lead in lacrosse can disappear pretty quickly and that we needed to keep pushing and keep playing how we were playing and score when we can. We needed to shore up our defense and keep them from getting in tight to score. They did a pretty good job of that until the last four or five minutes and then they made a couple of runs at us.
"It was a little bit heart pounding there at the end, but they were able to hang on and get that victory."
Said Collins: "I was super pumped because this was the closest we had ever been," Collins said. "We used to play club and we would get pretty close to winning most of those games. We haven't really tasted victory for awhile. It was the last five minutes of the game and they scored two goals to make it 7-6. I sent up some prayers and as soon as the ball got turned over, and I think it was Britney Fletcher who had the ball, I just told her to take that ball and run. We were all jumping up and down and screaming. I was crying. We were so pumped."
Finding a lacrosse goalie isn't an easy task, said Brown, who hopes Collins will be willing to fill in a bit more.
Collecting that first win might help.
"It's kind of funny, the first game we actually won was when we were a club team," Collins said. "Compared to a first win as a high school league sport, I didn't really realize it as soon as we won, but then once it hit me, we are a new high school league team and we just made history. I think that's pretty cool to have my name in there. I like it. It's something to be proud of."
Other notable performances
• Clare Ceynowa, softball, finished 2-5 with a home run, two RBIs and a run scored against Bemidji. She hit another homer against Alexandria.
• Abby Pelowski, softball, finished with eight strikeouts and allowed just two hits and one walk in a shutout victory over Moorhead. She struck out 12 and allowed four hits and one walk in a shutout victory over Sauk Rapids.
• Emma Tautges, softball, struck out 10 and allowed just two hits and one walk in a shutout victory over Moorhead.
• Zach Henke, track and field, won the 110- and 300-meter hurdles and helped the 4x400 relay team to first at the Warrior Tri.
• Brady Anderson, baseball, finished 3-3 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored against St. Cloud Apollo.
• Ethan Hebert, track and field, broke the school pole vault record for a third time and placed second at the Hamline Elite Meet with a 14-foot-6 effort.
• Gavin Metz, boys golf, shot a 1-under-par 70 to win the Cardinal Invite at The Vintage at Staples.