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Woodbury boys soccer: Royals shutout by Roseville, Prior Lake

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The Woodbury Royals boys have been on a shooting spree in the past week, but the scoreboard did not show it.

Despite strong ball control, 23 shots on offense and tough defense, the Royals came up short in the 1-0 Suburban East Conference loss to the Raiders on Sept. 24.

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“We played probably our best game of the season against Roseville,” Royals coach Joe Quintavalle said. “We did not get off to a great start and they scored early to lead 1-0, but after the goal we came alive and began to dominate the game.”

Sophomore midfielder Brandon Bieszk had a big shot on a free kick for the Royals that hit the cross bar. Junior midfielder Yuki Adams threatened to score with a hard shot that also hit the cross bar.

“So we had chances but luck was not on our side,” Quintavalle said. “The first thing their coach said to me after the game was that they stole one from us. This was the second game of the season we should have won but did not.”

Royals junior goalkeeper Aaron Clark stopped four shots as he and the defense kept the Raiders in check after the early goal. Bieszk had five shots for the Royals, and Vlad Mann and Keng Xiong each had four.

Their offense kept firing again at Stillwater on Thursday, Sept. 26, but the game ended in a 0-0 tie. Bieszk had two of the team’s 10 shots. Junior goalkeeper Jake Simon returned from being out due to a concussion and picked up the shut out with nine saves. The Royals earned a point against the Suburban East Conference’s first-place team with the tie.

“They were undefeated and in first place in the conference so it was nice to get a point from the game but if we could have played like we did against Roseville I think it would have been a game we could have won,” Quintavalle said.

The scoreless week continued for the Royals on Saturday against Prior Lake in a 2-0 loss. None of the Royals’ 11 shots went into the net as they suffered their third-consecutive shutout.

Mann, Keng, Matt Jessen Howard and Sebastian Usurriaga each had two shots. The Royals lost Bieszk when he got kneed in the thigh and did not return in the second half. Quintavalle anticipates his return for games this week.

Injuries in addition to Bieszk have continued to hobble the Royals. Junior midfielder Tayo Famodu has seen limited playing time while trying to bounce back from a thigh contusion. Junior defender Chris Chiu has been out due to a concussion, but will likely return this week. Senior defender Sam Hays has continued to struggle with a knee injury but hopes to be on the field this week.

“I think for the first time this season we will have everybody able to play this week but not everyone will be at on hundred percent,” Quintavalle said. “I hope that will change for the following week when we start sectionals.”

He also hopes to see the close losses/ties change when sectionals arrive. The Roseville loss and the 1-1 tie against Park earlier in the season were two games Quintavalle believes his team should have won.

“Hopefully we can turn these kind of games into victories in the playoffs when it will count more,” Quintavalle said.

The Royals wrap up the regular season this week with key games against East Ridge (9-1-2, 4-1-2 SEC) on Tuesday and Mounds View (6-4-3, 3-2-2 SEC) on Thursday. A win against East Ridge, third in the SEC, could put the Royals in the third place for the conference. Running the table could also secure a third seed in sectionals, but it all hinges if the Royals can have shots go their way this week.

-Matthew Davis

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