Woodbury girls soccer: Royals advance with heavy heartsThe Royals kept their eyes trained on a state tournament berth Saturday in a game against East Ridge, where focus was not an easy thing to maintain.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
The Royals kept their eyes trained on a state tournament berth Saturday in a game against East Ridge, where focus was not an easy thing to maintain.
Playing one day after the death of East Ridge student Braedon Hyland – who players on both teams knew – the Royals topped the Raptors 3-2.
“It was very emotional,” said Woodbury co-head coach Bill Ebertz.
The players exchanged armbands before the game in a symbolic gesture of condolence, he said.
“He would have been proud of the way the teams played,” Ebertz said of Hyland.
But once the game began, the players set aside their grief and played what Ebertz called “a very intense game.”
Woodbury scored first – about three minutes in – on an Emily Erickson free kick. The second-seeded Royals went into halftime with the 1-0 lead.
The Royals opened their lead to 2-0 about 10 minutes into the second half on a Maddie Nelson goal. East Ridge narrowed the lead to 2-1 on a free kick.
Erickson gave Woodbury a two-goal advantage with about 20 minutes left on another free kick goal. The Raptors returned the favor, bringing the score to 3-2, though the Royals held on for the win.
After the game, players from both teams broke down as emotion returned to the field.
“It’s a tough situation, to have a friend pass away at such a young age,” Ebertz said.
The semifinal win catapulted Woodbury into a Section 2AA championship game Tuesday against Mahtomedi, the results from which were not available at press time. The Zephyrs were among just three teams to beat Woodbury in the regular season, coming out on top of a 1-0 game.
Ebertz predicted another close game.
“I think the girls will be ready,” he said. “They want to get back to state.”
If Woodbury is to come away with a win over Mahtomedi, Ebertz said it will take solid defense and limiting the Zephyrs’ shots.
“I still think that we have your best game in us,” he said.
Woodbury reached the semifinals with a win Thursday, Oct. 13 against Cretin-Derham Hall, which Ebertz called “a good tune up” game. Junior forward Kristina White gave Woodbury a 1-0 lead with an early goal. Nelson, a senior midfielder, and Maddie Trebesch, senior defenseman, chipped in the other two goals against the Raiders.