The East Ridge boys' soccer team got some early attention from coaches around the state when it was ranked fourth in the Class 2A preseason rankings.
But despite the Raptors' standing in the Minnesota State High School Soccer Coaching Association's preseason poll, head coach Anthony Bidwell said they have not focused too much on what people are saying.
"The rankings don't really matter to us," Bidwell said.
The Raptors lost their first game of the season 3-2 to Minneapolis Washburn on Thursday, Aug. 31, on a grass field at East Ridge High School. The soccer game was played outside of the school's stadium due to the varsity football game against Champlin Park.
Grant Tostenrud and Mitchell Watanabe scored goals as East Ridge tied the game 2-2 at the end of regulation. But Minneapolis Washburn's Darley Florvil scored three goals, including the eventual game-winner in overtime, to hand East Ridge its first loss.
"They are going to be a team that's a tough team to beat this year," Bidwell said. "Although, that was a great match."
Bidwell said the Raptors' inexperience has resulted in holes at attacker the most, including Sam Hoeffel and Thibault Ceulemans.
"They were our two top scorers, and they were both all-state," Bidwell said.
East Ridge is 3-1 this season after also defeating Eagan 3-0 in a home game on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Tostenrud, Brennan Featherstone and Miles Sitcawich each scored in the 3-0 victory.
Park started the season with a 1-1-1 record heading into a Friday, Sept. 1, matchup at Farmington. The Wolfpack lost their first game 1-0 at North St. Paul on Tuesday, Aug. 29. Previously, Park tied Bloomington Jefferson 0-0 on Aug. 24, and defeated Hastings 2-1 on Aug. 26. Both were home games.
Park graduated eight starters from last year's team, which has resulted in many roster changes for head coach Jason Arnebeck.
"We've got a lot of opportunities for players to see some positions, which means we don't have as much experience as in years past," Arnebeck said on Aug. 29
Although the group is inexperienced, Arnebeck said they have been very coachable and easy to work with so far this season.
"They are hard working kids. They are very smart," Arnebeck said. "They love soccer, and I think collectively that gives them strength."
The Woodbury boys' soccer team had a week off after starting the season with a 2-1 victory over Hudson on Thursday, Aug. 24.
The Royals play Bloomington Jefferson at home on Tuesday, Sept. 5 before starting the Suburban East Conference schedule with a home game against East Ridge on Tuesday, Sept. 12.
New Life Academy
The Eagles have lost three games to start the season, including a 1-0 defeat by Bloomington Kennedy in the home opener at HealthEast Sports Center on Thursday, Aug. 31.
New Life Academy started the season with a 1-0 loss at South St. Paul on Thursday, Aug. 24. The Eagles also lost a 4-0 game at St. Paul Humboldt on Tuesday, Aug. 29.