East Ridge's successful season ends in section final
The season certainly didn’t end in the fashion, or at the location the Raptors girl’s lacrosse team wanted it to.
East Ridge earned a share of the its first Suburban East Conference championship, received the No. 1 seed in the sectional and advanced to the section championship for the second straight season
“We had an awesome season and I’m just really proud of how the girls carried themselves on and off the field,” Raptors coach Andrea Peterson said. “In addition to the talent we had, it was fun and energetic all the time and we were all close and a family at the end. Win or lose today, it’s been an awesome season and a winning season in my book.”
East Ridge (13-3) topped Stillwater 12-11 on April 23. The win marked the first time in program history it beat the powerhouse Ponies, but the story was different in the section final.
Stillwater grabbed control from the get-go and held a 10-1 lead at the half. Raptors senior Jenna Griffith found the back of the net for East Ridge after the break, but it’s all the Raptors offense could muster in the second session as East Ridge fell to Stillwater in the section final for the second-straight season.
“They knew how to beat our [defense],” Peterson said. “I don’t know if they took that from the first game that we played them or if they’d seen us play other games, but they knew how to beat our defense. They knew how to put the goals in the back of the net, and unfortunately we got beat.”
The loss served as the finale of the high school careers of 10 Raptors who helped build the program from a squad that won just five games two years ago to the winner it is now.
“In the beginning, obviously we weren’t winning a lot and it wasn’t that fun, but having it build over the years and being there for the whole thing has just been a great experience,” senior Jessica Hammer said. “I love all the people I grew up with and we’ve been together since the start, so it’s really awesome that we finally came together and got to the section finals. It’s too bad that we couldn’t pull it out.”
Hammer, an all-state selection by the coaches’ association, said this was the best year of her career.
It’s a season that Peterson said will be difficult to top in the coming years, though she does see her program as one on the rise.
“We still have a lot of girls coming up,” she said. “We’re a growing program and we’re getting better, so I think we’ll still have a chance to be good next year and in the coming years.”