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2011 Fall Preview: East Ridge boys soccer team looks to go over .500 this fall

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After finishing 2-14-1 in its first year and 6-9-3 last season, the East Ridge boys soccer team is looking for its first season over .500 this fall.

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The Raptors are returning most of the core of the team from last year and gained more than they lost in the offseason.

East Ridge has to say goodbye to 2011 graduate Robbie McNamara last spring, but is returning key players Luke Featherstone, Nate Thao, Merlin Erickson, Alec Fitts and Won Suk Chung to this year's lineup along with promising newcomers Samuel Ruiz-Plaza, Conner Stevenson, Stephen Vang and Niko Railef. In all, East Ridge has five juniors that started when they were freshmen.

Thao, a senior attacker, and Featherstone and Erickson, who are both junior midfielders, are the team captains this season.

In the Suburban East Conference, Stillwater is expected to be the team to beat, with East Ridge, Park, Mounds View and Woodbury not too far behind.

East Ridge has started the season 2-2, with wins over Irondale and St. Paul Harding and losses to St. Michael-Albertville and rival Woodbury.

Key remaining games include: at third-ranked Stillwater on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Mounds View on Thursday, Sept. 29, and at home against Park on Thursday, Oct. 6. East Ridge also plays Cretin-Derham Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Metrodome.

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