THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10
EAST RIDGE 2, WHITE BEAR LAKE 1
After the quarterfinals game on Tuesday, the East Ridge girls' soccer game knew Thursday was going to be a physical and gritty game against White Bear Lake.
On Thursday, those expectations were matched as the No. 3 seed Raptors traveled to the No. 2 seed Bears for a semifinal section game. East Ridge lost 1-0 earlier in the regular season to White Bear Lake, but were able to get some revenge on Thursday with a 2-1 win and continuing their season to the section finals game.
"I'm so proud of how these girls played tonight," said head coach Tim Bunnell. "They fought through everything to get this win and our defense played their best game all season."
Junior Paige Pederson was the leader offensively on Thursday night as she recorded both goals. One came in the first half to give East Ridge a 1-0 lead heading into the half.
Then, about halfway through the second half, White Bear Lake had a penalty kick. East Ridge's goalie Lauryn Trebel saved the first shot on goal, but the rebound allowed the Bears to score and tie the game at 1-1.
About three minutes after tying the game, Pederson came back and put the ball in the corner of the net with a free kick about 20 yards out. This allowed the Raptors to regain the lead at 2-1 with about 12 minutes left in the game.
"That was a great shot by Pederson finding that corner of the goal to get the lead," Bunnell said. "She was great out there all night."
Defensively, the Raptors were able to stop almost every shot that came their way. Madison Majewski broke her nose halfway through the quarterfinals game and had to sit out for the second half.
She was cleared to play on Thursday night and Bunnell described her play as unbelievable as she was the leader of the defense to stop the Bears.
A scary moment came with about a minute left in the game as White Bear Lake kicked a shot at Trebel. She grabbed the ball and dove to maintain the mishandle, but one of the Bears players kicked her in the face.
Bunnell said she was out for a few seconds and was on the field for a few minutes being treated by the White Bear Lake training staff. Eventually, an ambulance came out onto the field to transport her to the hospital.
Bunnell said Trebel was doing well at the hospital and had movement everywhere in her body. It was a very scary moment near the end of the game, but it wasn't over as the Raptors had to fight for one more minute.
East Ridge's backup goalie Danielle McKenna came out for the final minute. White Bear Lake had possession once again and McKenna made a strong save to prevent the score from being tied.
East Ridge captured the 2-1 win and advanced to the section final game where the Raptors will travel to No. 1 seed Stillwater on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m.
There was a lot of mixed emotions as the East Ridge players were excited about the win, but also worried about Trebel and her condition at the hospital.
Bunnell said the girls are ready to play Stillwater, which has become a familiar team in the section tournament for the Raptors. The last time these two teams haven't faced off in a section tournament was back in 2014.
In 2015, the Ponies came to East Ridge and won 2-1 in the section semifinals. In 2016, East Ridge went to the state tournament after winning 4-0 at Stillwater in the section finals.
In 2017, the Raptors earned a 2-1 win in the section semifinals over the Ponies at Stillwater. Finally, last year in 2018, East Ridge lost a hard game at home as Stillwater won 2-1.
The two teams faced off this regular season and the Raptors came up with the 2-1 win at East Ridge High School. The girls know how to win against the Ponies and understand the implications of a section final.
Bunnell said he expects to have McKenna as the starting goalie for this game and he's confident she'll be dominant in that goal.
"She's played in a few games this season and has looked really good, so I expect a strong game on Tuesday," Bunnell said. "It'll be a great game and a tough game and I'm excited for next week."
EAST RIDGE 3, STILLWATER 1
The defense has become a key component to East Ridge's success this season and that aspect was shown once again on Thursday night as the No. 1 seed Raptors defeated No. 4 seed Stillwater 3-1 in the section semifinals.
The only goal allowed by East Ridge was a ball that slipped past goalie Nick Wagner. Other than that, the defense showed their dominance in preventing offensive possessions for Stillwater and Wagner saved every ball along the way.
Along with the strong defense, the Raptors were able to take a lead and keep pushing that offensive production for all 80 minutes. East Ridge scored a goal in the first half to take a 1-0 lead heading into the half, but Stillwater scored to tie the game up at 1-1.
About halfway through the second half, East Ridge scored again to take the 2-1 lead and towards the end of the game the Raptors knocked in another goal to seal the 3-1 victory.
The goals came from Cameron Kor, Miles Sitcawich and Chris Duliere, while Reese Dodd assisted in two of the three goals.
The win allows East Ridge's season to continue next week as the Raptors host No. 2 seed Woodbury on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at 7 p.m. in the section final game.
It's not only a section final game where the winner will advance to the state tournament, but it's also a rivalry game that brings the two schools in Woodbury together for the night.
The Raptors traveled to Woodbury during the regular season and won 3-1 to end the Royals undefeated season. The win also allowed East Ridge to take control of the conference and eventually win the conference title at the end of the season.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8
EAST RIDGE 3, ST. PAUL CENTRAL 0
The East Ridge girls' soccer team earned the No. 3 seed in the section 4AA tournament and having that home field advantage in the opening round on Tuesday ignited them to play one of their best games of the season.
"This was probably one of our best games of the season," said junior Zoe Meyers. "We kept working until the very end and worked together to earn this win."
The Raptors finished with a 3-0 win over St. Paul Central to advance to the semifinals and continue their season. Head coach Tim Bunnell was happy with how the girls played both offensively and defensively and he hopes that continues in the semifinals game.
The defense was able to limit the amount offensive possessions for St. Paul Central, therefore making it hard to score and East Ridge was able to earn the shut out. On the other end, the Raptors had many different weapons to use to score goals and find open teammates.
That versatility with attackers and midfielders and their ability to score makes each player a threat to score at any moment. Bunnell has seen this range of scoring all season and he knows that will continue the rest of this section tournament.
The Raptors were able to score and win on Tuesday night without one of their key leaders and players for the second half of the game. Maddie Majewski went up for a ball and broke her nose during the play.
After that injury, she was kept out of the second half and had to be evaluated after the game. Bunnell said he's hoping to have her back on Thursday for the semifinals game, but he's not sure her timetable or what the timetable is like for this type of injury.
"She's a key player to this team and losing her would be loss on Thursday," Bunnell said. "Hopefully, it can be a quick turnaround and she'll be able to play."
With or without Majewski, the Raptors will be traveling to White Bear Lake on Thursday, Oct. 10, at a time to be determined later for the semifinal game. Isabel Kothe said she hopes this type of game and win can lead to momentum heading into the semifinal game because the Raptors know it only gets tougher from here.
East Ridge lost in a 1-0 close game to White Bear Lake during the regular season, so Kothe and Meyers agreed that they can compete with the Bears.
"White Bear Lake is an aggressive team and will be physical throughout the game," Kothe said. "We just have to match that intensity and continue working and fighting all game."
EAST RIDGE 6, TARTAN 1
The East Ridge boys' soccer team earned the No. 1 seed in the section 4AA tournament and played their first home game on Tuesday in the quarterfinals game against No. 8 seed Tartan.
The Raptors took control of the game early and it led them to earn a 6-1 victory and advance to the semifinals to play at least one more game this season.
East Ridge ended the regular season on an eight-game winning streak and outscored opponents 19-1 in those eight games. That streak carried into the first section game as the Raptors scored three goals in the first half and another three goals in the second half.
The only score for Tartan came from a ball slipping past goalie Nick Wagner, but the defense made sure that simple mistake was the only goal allowed all game.
East Ridge will play on Thursday, Oct. 10, at a time to be determined later at East Ridge High School against No. 4 seed Stillwater. This match up was something the Raptors wanted at the beginning of the season after losing in the section finals to the Ponies. East Ridge also earned a 2-0 win over Stillwater this regular season and will look to make it a 2-0 record against the Ponies on Thursday.