East Ridge did not have much time to breathe before last week's MEA break.
The Raptors played back-to-back weekend tournaments at St. Michael-Albertville and Lakeville North to wrap up the regular season schedule. Between those two tournaments, five-set victories against Stillwater and Forest Lake helped clinch the first Suburban East Conference title in program history.
"It was a great way to end the season and kind of push us to our max going into sections," head coach Steve Anderson said.
East Ridge finished in sixth place with a 3-2 record at the Lakeville North tournament Oct. 13-14. The Raptors finished 2-1 in pool play, defeating Rochester Mayo and Caledonia while losing to Lakeville South. East Ridge beat Stewartville on Oct. 14 in bracket play before falling to Eden Prairie in the tournament's fifth-place match.
The tournament was filled with state-ranked competition. Lakeville South and Eden Prairie are both state-ranked in Class 3A, while Stewartville is third in the Class 2A rankings and Caledonia is seventh in the Class 1A polls.
The Raptors had last week off to catch their breath, just in time for the start of the Class 3A, Section 3 tournament. At the top of the bracket is the state's top-ranked team, Eagan, which lost just one match during the regular season.
But there are other teams with the potential to test East Ridge, such as Rosemount. The Irish finished 18-9 in the regular season and were given the third seed in the section playoffs.
"It's going to be a grind," Anderson said. "But I think we're prepared for whatever comes our way."
East Ridge will begin the section playoffs on Thursday, Oct. 26, by hosting the winner of an Oct. 24 match between Cretin-Derham Hall and South St. Paul. The winner will play in the section semifinals on Nov. 1.