Girls Lacrosse: Warriors grab monster win in opener

Brainerd hosts Rocori April 24

Brained Warrior Girls  playing lacrosse
Brainerd Warrior Breya Sawyer shoots the ball toward the Rocori goal Monday, April 24, 2023, at Brainerd High School.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Junior Carol Holcomb-Smith said the whole team was excited to play their first game of the season.

After opening day for girls’ lacrosse was postponed three times, the Warriors finally took the field and beat the Rocori Spartans 18-1 Monday, April 24, at Adamson Field.

“It honestly feels like a miracle at this point,” Holcomb-Smith said of playing their first game. “With how cold and with how many games have been canceled, I think just getting out on the turf with a day as warm as it was today our whole team was happy to play lacrosse win or lose.”

Warriors head coach Mata Agre echoed the sentiment of her players.

“We had the first game of the season for a third time here,” she said. “We were excited to finally play and our girls played well right off the bat and that’s what we were looking for. From the coaching sometimes you don’t think the excitement will translate over to the game, but it was fun for both our JV and varsity to have good games today.”


Brainerd needed 12 seconds to get a goal as Alexis Aspinwall scored the first goal of the season for the Warriors. Holcomb-Smith added her first goal a minute later and the Warriors never looked back.

“Alexis Aspinwall absolutely dominated in the first 10 seconds,” Holcomb-Smith said. “Our whole team was just so excited to play the game. I think we came out pretty confident and our main idea was to put everything on the field right now because we’ve waited so long to play this first game.”

Holcomb-Smith scored two goals 17 seconds apart to complete a first-half hat trick.

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“Honestly, my goals felt like dumb luck,” Holcomb-Smith said. “I know they weren’t, but a lot of my goals were coming out of the back and seeing that I didn’t have a defender on me and taking advantage of the opportunity.”

The Warriors’ offense was in a groove in the first half and led 12-1 at halftime. Aspinwall tallied two goals and Breya Sawyer scored three times in the first half.

Lydia Olson, Annie Pierce, Gretchen Paysse and Mercedes Engstrom all added first-half goals for the Warriors.

Sawyer registered three more goals in the second half to finish with six goals. The senior, Swayer, is the top returning goal scorer from last year.

“Breya is a powerhouse for our offense,” Holcomb-Smith said. “She was a powerhouse for us last year and I know she is going to keep on this year. Her stick skills are the best on the team and she helps us bring us up to another level. I think we want to take advantage of her this year and use her for cuts and passing because she can catch the ball wherever she is. Our main goal is to just serve her the ball.”


Olson added her second goal in the second half while Lila Collins and Abby Paulson found the net in the second half, too.

“To be able to spread it out in the first game of the season is good to see because we don’t want to be one-dimensional,” Agre said. “We want to have a lot of people who can score and that showed up in the box score today.”

Brainerd used both goalies with Macy Peterson notching four saves and Kate Haglin three.

“Our goalies both played very fearlessly today,” Agre said. “They both played well and it showed in the scoresheet.”

The Warriors are back home Wednesday, April 26, against Grand Rapids and host St. Cloud Thursday, April 27.

“I think we know our Wednesday and Thursday games are going to be a lot tougher,” Holcomb-Smith said. “I think we just need to prepare ourselves mentally and that this game is not how every game is going to go.”

Agre added: “Grand Rapids has generally been a tougher team for us and we play at home against St. Cloud Thursday which is usually a good matchup for us, so great games for the fans to cheer us on.”

Rocori 1 0 — 1

Brainerd 12 6 — 18

First half: Brd-Alexis Aspinwall 24:48, Brd-Carol Holcomb-Smith 23:49, Brd-Breya Sawyer 19:49, R-goal 18:25, Brd-Holcomb-Smith 16:01, Brd-Holcomb-Smith 15:44, Brd-Gretchen Paysse 12:01, Brd-Aspinwall 11:21, Brd-Lydia Olson 10:03, Brd-Annie Pierce 7:28, Brd-Mercedes Engstrom 7:07, Brd-Sawyer 5:26, Brd-Sawyer 3:00

Second half: Brd-Sawyer 23:25, Brd-Lila Collins 18:20, Brd-Sawyer 14:00, Brd-Sawyer 12:40, Brd-Abby Paulson 9:17, Brd-Olson

Goalies: Brd-Macy Peterson (4 saves), Kate Haglin (3 saves)

Warriors 18, ROCORI 1

Key: Brainerd dominates from start to finish
Overall: Brd 1-0, R 0-2.
Next: Brainerd hosts Grand Rapids 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26.


CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at

Started at the Dispatch in June of 2019.
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