Royals seize control of SEC raceWoodbury boys soccer team holds on to No. 2 Class AA ranking with a clutch week.
By: Tom Carothers, Woodbury Bulletin
It was the biggest week of the season to date for the Woodbury boys soccer team ad the Royals came up with their best effort to prevail mightily.
“Just a great week,” coach Joe Quintavalle said. “I’m very proud of the team — it’s a special group.”
Woodbury held on to their No. 2 ranking in the state Class AA coaches poll and seized control of the Suburban East Conference race with wins over fellow conference frontrunners White Bear Lake and Roseville, then remaining unbeaten on the year with a triumph over Totino-Grace, the No. 1-ranked team in Class A.
“It’s nice to take over first place and hang on to the No. 2 ranking,” Quintavalle said. “The team has been working hard — they’ve been fun to coach.”
The Royals kicked off the victorious stretch with a 2-1 victory at White Bear Lake on Tuesday, Sept. 29, clinching the win on a Fernando Vargas goal off a throw-in late in the game.
Fellow midfielder Eric Miller had previously scored to give Woodbury a 1-0 lead, before the Bears knotted the game at 1-1 with the first goal scored on the Royals since Sept. 8 — a stretch of six games.
“White Bear Lake is a very good team and it was good to get that win over them and jump into the conference lead,” Quintavalle said.
The Royals further took charge of the SEC by breaking Roseville’s spirit on a nasty night in the north metro two evenings later — fighting off Mother Nature to thump the Raiders 5-0.
“The final score was not indicative of the game,” Quintavalle said. “It was very even in the first half.”
Forward Demyan Trofimovich gave WHS a 1-0 lead before a weather delay and the second half before a four-goal outburst in the final 40 minutes surged the Royals to the win.
Trofimovich scored again, with Miller and forwards Ben Cherrey and Mats Brendesaeter joining in the goalfest for the sizable shutout win.
“We did well on a night where the conditions were not great,” Quintavalle said.
A one-half game lead in the SEC secured, WHS hopped out of league play to host Totino-Grace on Saturday, Oct. 3 — and kept their 13-game unbeaten streak alive with a 1-0 win.
Midfielder Tyler Lo’s first-half strike from 25 yards out was all the Royals would need to top Class A’s No. 1 squad.
“I know the boys wanted to stay out of the loss column, so that was a good win to get,” Quintavalle said.
Woodbury (10-0-3 overall, 5-0-2 SEC) closes out the regular season this week versus Mounds View and Forest Lake.