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Woodbury boys soccer: Overtime goal sinks Royals’ season

A header off a free kick made the difference as the Woodbury Royals boys soccer team saw its season end on October 8.

Cesar Cruz of Cretin-Derham Hall won it for the Raiders on the overtime penalty kick to break the 1-1 tie in the Section 4AA quarterfinal game. There appeared to be a push, but the referees did not call it against the Raiders.

“There was a scramble in front of the net and we couldn’t clear the ball,” Royals coach Joe Quintavalle said. “After the game, Jake Simon told me a Cretin player grabbed him by his shoulders and pulled him down when they scored. When I talked to the referee after the game he said he did not see that.”

Simon, the Royals goalkeeper had nine saves in the loss. Sophomore midfielder Brandon Bieszk had the lone goal for the Royals, assisted by junior midfielder Yuki Adams.

“We only had a few shots in the game but we created some good chances,” Quintavalle said. “The wind was a factor and it seemed whoever had the wind to their back had the advantage.”

Injuries once again played a roll as they had only 16 of their 22 players practicing the day before the game. They played without Tayo Famodu, who was out for the season. During the game, the Royals lost Kohei Adams to a broken wrist and Jerit Sanden to a leg injury. Junior defender Alistair Berg came in for Sanden and played despite a cast on his wrist from an injury the week before. Senior forward Matt Jessen Howard played limited time due to his injured heal.

“We played the same system we played in our last game because of our injuries,” Quintavalle said.

He had to change up game plans in their 2-1 win over Mounds View in the regular season finale the week before. The Royals had five players out due to injury for that game. The result didn’t go in their favor this time around.

The loss came as a too-familiar occurrence for the Royals since they fell in the quarterfinals the year before too. Quintavalle hopes to use it as motivation for next season.

“I hope our returning players remember the feeling of losing the first round and it will inspire them to really work hard and get better for next year,” Quintavalle said.

The Royals will return a load of talent at midfield, goalkeeping and defense. They will look to build on this season’s 7-6-2 overall record and 5-2-2 fourth-place finish in the Suburban East Conference.

“Many of our returning players have been on the varsity the past two years so we have a lot of talent and experience returning,” Quintavalle said. “We will need to replace our forwards but we will have some very good players fighting for those spots next August.”

—Matthew Davis