Woodbury boys lacrosse: Royals’ historic season endsAfter reaching the Section 5 semifinals for the first time in school history, the Woodbury boys lacrosse team’s season came to an end with an 11-1 loss to No. 2-ranked Blake on Tuesday, May 31, in Hopkins.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
After reaching the Section 5 semifinals for the first time in school history, the Woodbury boys lacrosse team’s season came to an end with an 11-1 loss to No. 2-ranked Blake on Tuesday, May 31, in Hopkins.
In the game, sixth-seeded Woodbury (7-9) found itself down only 2-0 to No. 2 seed Blake after the first quarter, but the Bears scored seven second-quarter goals to go ahead 9-0 at the half and take control.
“Blake is just a good team,” Woodbury head coach Rich Limpert said. “We would have had to played a perfect game and gotten some breaks and calls go our way and that didn’t happen.”
Woodbury senior Thomas Gand scored the lone goal of the game, unassisted with just under three minutes to play.
The Royals had a goal called off in the opening minute of the game, then were penalized twice.
“We had five minutes of being a man down against one of the best teams in the state,” Limpert said. “You can’t have that. We held them to 2-0, but the team got very tired from being a man down that long.”
Blake (13-3) went on to fall 9-8 in overtime to Benilde-St. Margaret’s — the No. 1-ranked team in the state and the No. 1 seed in Section 5.
In its previous two playoff games, Woodbury defeated third-seed Edina, 8-6 in the quarterfinals, and 11th-seed Roseville 6-5 in the first round.
“The boys never quit,” Limpert said. “That’s the best thing you can say about this year. From the opening whistle to the last minutes of the last game, they never quit and they always played like a team. I’m very proud of our team.”
Woodbury is in its fifth season in the Minnesota State High School League and its second as a non-cooperative program. Last year, its first as a solo program, Woodbury was 11-2.
This year, the team finished under .500, but lost seven games by two goals or less. The previous two years, Breck has ended Woodbury’s season.
“It was our best season ever as far as going as far as we can in the playoffs,” Limpert said. “We had a tougher schedule than last year and we made it to the semifinals of the hardest section in the state. That was certainly a positive.”
The Royals graduate 14 seniors from its roster, including its top six scorers.
Mr. Lacrosse finalist Ben Alberts led Woodbury in scoring with 72 points on 35 goals and 37 assists. Blake Bergherr was second with 64 points on 36 goals and 28 assists and Matt Wardell had 20 points on 16 goals and four assists.
“We scored 142 goals this year and we’re going to return 10 goals next year,” Limpert said. “But we have some great guys returning and a great foundation returning. We have some good, young guys coming back and our JV team has been really solid.”
Limpert said it would be odd not coaching Alberts and fellow 2011 grad Christian Turner, who have been with the program since its first years.
“When I think about coaching I think about going to the field and seeing those guys,” Limpert said. “They’ve been there the whole time, essentially. That will be different.”
Five of the states top-six ranked boys lacrosse teams i are from the west metro. However, Limpert said he feels the program is headed in the right direction in its attempt to be one of the top teams east of the Mississippi river.
“We’re catching up,” Limpert said. “I wouldn’t say we’re there just yet, but we’re getting there.”