East Ridge 8, Eagan 7
The East Ridge boys lacrosse team had this game circled on their calendar since practice started in March. It was a revenge game and the Raptors wanted to make sure that happened for last year's and this year's teams.
East Ridge was taking on Eagan, who is ranked sixth in the state, on Thursday night at home. It was a section finals rematch from last season as the Wildcats defeated the Raptors to advance to the state tournament.
Eagan had all of the momentum in the first half as the Wildcats took a 5-1 lead early in the second quarter.
"We were in a similar position last time when we played them in the section finals," said East Ridge head coach Steve Van Sloun. "We know what it took to overcome this deficit and get back in the game."
The Raptors took a timeout near the end of the second quarter and discussed what needed to happen to get back in the game. Before the half ended, East Ridge followed that plan exactly allowing the Raptors to score two goals and make it a 5-3 game.
The quick goals gave East Ridge the momentum and confidence heading into the second half and it showed as the Raptors scored the next five goals to make it an 8-5 lead.
After grabbing the lead, the focus shifted from the offense to the defense as they made sure to stop Eagan from scoring.
The lead dwindled to 8-6 and finally reached 8-7 with 30 seconds left in the game. The defense needed to make a stand to earn this win and the Raptors did just that to grab the victory over a highly ranked, section rivalry team.
"It means a lot to get this win," Van Sloun said. "We've heard from many of the seniors from last season as they congratulated us on the win. It was nice to get revenge from last season, but this just means we need to keep working hard throughout this entire season."
Van Sloun added that the defense played phenomenal on Thursday night. He was also happy to get the win over the Eagan because the Wildcats coaches coached Van Sloun and his buddies about a decade ago.
Van Sloun said he and his coaching staff have so much respect for the Eagan program and he always knows it'll be a good game when East Ridge and Eagan get together.
Jack Mohler led the Raptors with three goals, while Ben Marburger was right behind him with two goals. Thomas Miles had a strong night with 17 saves at the goalie position.
"This win changes our mentality heading into the Benilde game on Saturday," Van Sloun said. "Hopefully, we can keep this momentum rolling into that game."
East Ridge will host another tough game against Benilde-St. Margaret's, who's ranked third in the state, on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m.
Woodbury 5, Simley 4
It was a close game, but Woodbury fought hard until the final horn as the Royals won 5-4 over Simley to earn their first win of the season.
Woodbury evened out its record at 1-1 as four players scored a goal in Thursday's game on the road. Colin Olson, Kevin Unwin and Nate Reetz each scored one goal and Jonah Kopinski connected on two goals in the game.
Garet Long saved seven shots as Woodbury's defense kept the lead to earn the victory. The Royals will take the confidence from this win and bring it into their next game at home against Duluth East on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m.
Eden Prairie 13, Woodbury 4
The ability to be the best team means you have to compete and beat the best teams.
That's Woodbury head coach Jason Worwa's mentality when scheduling games for the season, especially non-conference games.
On Tuesday, the Royals opened up their season at Eden Prairie for their first non-conference game. Eden Prairie is ranked No. 7 in the MN Lacrosse Hub rankings and showed why on Tuesday with a 13-4 win over Woodbury.
"We knew we were playing against a good team," Worwa said. "When you play against a good, well coached team like Eden Prairie, you can't continue to shoot yourself in the foot in the transition game, which is where I think we struggled mightily today. We gave them a lot, a lot of extra possessions."
It was a close game in the first quarter as the Royals took a 2-1 lead in the later part of the first. Then, Eden Prairie regained the lead and held that lead for the rest of the game.
The lead extended to 8-2 at the end of the third quarter, but the Royals weren't giving up at the start of the fourth quarter. In the first couple of minutes in the fourth, Woodbury scored two quick goals to make it an 8-4 lead for Eden Prairie.
After that, Eden Prairie took control and extended the lead to the 13-4 final score. Worwa was happy to see the players fight in the fourth quarter to make it a four-goal deficit, but he knows those extra possessions for Eden Prairie made it hard to comeback.
"Garet [Long] played a great game, a lot of saves," Worwa said. "There was 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter and it was a four-goal game still."
Worwa likes to play tough non-conference opponents because it gives the Royals an opportunity to see where they are at in the beginning of the season. Isaac Wuotila also agreed with Worwa and also added that the team now realizes some areas to identify before their next game.
Woodbury had a couple players not in the regular starting lineup due to sickness, which gave younger players an opportunity to step up and play. Worwa said he was happy with how they stepped up, but there are some areas to work on and only one day of practice before the next game.
"We'll watch film before our next game to go over some of the things we need to work on getting ready for the rest of the week," Wuotila said. "Film is going to be really important for us."
Woodbury had three different players score on Tuesday night with Jonah Kopinski leading the team with two goals and Alex Dunleavy and Ayden Hooley each scoring one goal.
Long had 27 saves on the night, which Worwa said he had a good night. Besides transitions, Worwa also mentioned that he would like the offense to be patient and find the open player.
There were a handful of possessions that were quick for the Royals and ended in a turnover or a save by the Eden Prairie goalie. Worwa said there might have been some nerves for the first game, but he's hoping to stay more patient in their next game.
"We can't dwell on a non-conference loss," Worwa said. "We need to get ready for Simley, a really good team with a really good faceoff player."
Woodbury will have practice on Wednesday and prepare for another road game on Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. as the Royals take on Simley. Then, the week concludes with the home opener for the Royals on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. against Duluth East.
East Ridge 16, Tartan 3
East Ridge started off the season strong against Tartan as the Raptors won 16-3 on the road on Tuesday night.
The Raptors had even scoring in each quarter as they scored five goals in the first, three goals in the second, four goals in the third and four more goals in the fourth.
There were seven different players that scored at least one goal allowing a spread of people to score for East Ridge. Jack Mohler, Zach Beaubien and Peter Young each led the team with three goals each and creating the momentum for the rest of the team.
Isaac Edwards, Tyler Johnson and Noah Markus each scored two goals and Alex Fournier scored one goal as well.
Along with the offense, East Ridge's defense was really strong only allowing 12 shots on goal. It was an easier night for Thomas Miles as the Raptors defense made sure no Tartan attacker was taking a shot on goal.
East Ridge has a busy week still before the weekend approaches as the Raptors will host Eagan on Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m.
Then, the Raptors will host Benilde-St. Margaret's at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 20. Both of these home games are against big opponents as Eagan is ranked No. 5 and Benilde is ranked No. 3 in the MN Lacrosse Hub rankings.