THURSDAY, OCTOBER 3
EAST RIDGE 4, FOREST LAKE 0
At the beginning of the season, the East Ridge boys' soccer captains said the team's sights were on a conference title, a section title and a state title.
On Thursday night, the Raptors were able to check one of the three items off their list.
The clock ticked down to zero on the scoreboard and the East Ridge players ran to each other giving hugs and showing their appreciation to the fans that have come out to each of the games this season.
"This was something we wanted since the first day of fall practice," said junior Terrance Vu. "We've worked together all season and it's great to see that hard work pay off with a conference title now. This ends the first half of the season and now we need to focus on the second half and sections."
The night started with a goal in the first half by the Raptors, but the game remained close with a 1-0 lead at the half. Then, East Ridge kept firing shots at the goal and were able to extend the lead to 4-0.
It was another shutout for goalie Nick Wagner and the ninth on the season for East Ridge, which describes the mentality of the Raptors' defense all season long.
"We have a lot of balance on this team and strong players at all positions on the field," said junior Josh Tong. "We have one of the strongest defensive lines as well as a strong midfield and attackers to put goals on the board and stop opponents each game."
This was the sixth straight shutout game for East Ridge with its last goal scored on them coming on Sept. 17 when the Raptors played Woodbury. That rivalry game in September against the Royals was the turning point for this East Ridge team because they knew they had complete control of their destiny.
After that win, they made a goal to go undefeated the rest of the regular season and make sure they were able to earn that conference title. They not only went undefeated, but they outscored their opponents 14-0 to grab that first conference title since 2014.
"This team is a family and we've worked together as a family all season long," said junior Nick Wagner. "We had some tough games at the beginning of the season, but we learned from them and used it to our advantage during the conference season to win the title."
Wagner is right, the Raptors had a difficult non-conference season to start the fall as they went 4-2-1 in their first seven games. They played ranked opponents like St. Louis Park and Minneapolis Washburn, but the East Ridge players and coaches learned from these games and incorporated it into their strategy for the second half of the season.
Thursday night will be a memorable night for many of these players including the 11 seniors on this team. Now that the conference title goal is completed, the Raptors will focus on their next goal which is to win the section title.
"The section tournament is completely different than the regular season," said junior Cameron Kor. "Your focus is on one game at a time and making sure you work as a family to reach that end goal."
Many of the East Ridge players remember last season and their section tournament run. The run ended in the section finals as the Raptors lost in a shootout against Stillwater to conclude their 2018 season.
This year, the matchup might occur but the Raptors are hoping that section final game is at East Ridge High School instead of Stillwater. The conference title helps build East Ridge's resume for that number one seed in the section tournament.
A No. 1 seed would allow the Raptors to play at home all tournament, but they would also have the target on their back as the team to beat. The players are fine with that target because they feel prepared from last season and this regular season.
"We've learned a lot about this team from last year and during this season that we're ready for that number one seed," Vu said. "We just need to keep working together each game."
The East Ridge boys' have one more regular season game on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. as the Raptors host Chanhassen for senior day before they wait to see the section bracket come out. Then, they will start practicing with their next goal in mind.
That goal is to win the section title and advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2015.
EAST RIDGE 6, FOREST LAKE 0
It seemed like Thursday night's game between Forest Lake and East Ridge was going to be close, especially the score tied at 0-0 at the half.
Then, the Raptors came out and put on a scoring spectacle to win 6-0 and improve their record to 6-7-1 on the season and 5-4 in the conference.
The six goals came from Isabel Kothe, Maddie Poor, Jess Machovec and a hat trick for Maddie Majewski. Paige Pederson was the assist leader with three assists as Lauryn Trebal and Dani McKenna worked together to earn the shutout.
The Raptors will conclude their regular season on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. as they travel to Mahtomedi for a non-conference game. After that game, they will wait to see where they land with seeds in the section tournament that starts next week.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 2
CRETIN-DERHAM HALL 4, EAST RIDGE 1
The East Ridge girls' soccer had to makeup one of the games from last week and lost to Cretin-Derham Hall on Wednesday night with a 4-1 score.
The Raptors will look to rebound from the loss as they celebrate senior night on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 5 p.m. as East Ridge takes on Forest Lake.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1
EAST RIDGE 1, ROSEVILLE 0
It was a miserable night to play soccer as the weather had constant rain and the temperatures were in the 50's, but the East Ridge boys' soccer team didn't let that phase them.
They finished the game with a 1-0 victory over Roseville on Tuesday night and took one step closer to clinching the conference title.
"You can't let the weather effect everything in the game," said senior Brennan Featherstone. "We knew it was going to be a more physical game because you don't know where the ball will bounce and you have to be in position for it all the time."
It was a battle in the first half as neither team scored, but the Raptors were able to score one goal in the second half and that's all they needed.
The defense continued being dominant this second half of the season with another shutout making it the eighth on the season and that defense is led by goalie Nick Wagner.
"Our communication on the defensive end has been strong between everyone," Wagner said. "We just need to keep that going this week and as we get ready for section next week."
This win on Tuesday night was crucial because the Raptors control their destiny on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 7 p.m. as they host Forest Lake for their final conference game of the season.
If the Raptors win on Thursday night, they will clinch the conference title for the first time since 2014. If they lose, they will have to rely on a loss from Woodbury to earn that conference title.
"We want to be in control of winning this title and we know Forest Lake won't back down easily," Featherstone said. "It'll be a fight on Thursday, but that conference title was one of our goals at the start of the season so we want to make sure we win it."
EAST RIDGE 2, ROSEVILLE 1
The East Ridge girls' soccer team was moved to the HealthEast Sports Center on Tuesday night for their game against Roseville. The indoor facility didn't distract the Raptors as they earned the 2-1 victory in the conference game.
The two goals were scored by Rosie Meier and Maddie Majewski, which started the week strong as they prepare for the busy week ahead.
The Raptors will play on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. at Cretin-Derham Hall to make up a game from last week. Then, East Ridge will host Forest Lake on Thursday, Oct. 3, at 5 p.m. for senior night. Finally, they will hit the road to play Mahtomedi on Saturday, Oct. 5, at 1 p.m. to conclude the regular season.