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Woodbury girls soccer: Royals stunned by Park

Bailey Lervick and the Woodbury girls soccer team won two games last week, but fell to Park 2-1 on Thursday.

The Royals aren't used to losing games in the Suburban East Conference.

So when a fired-up Wolfpack team came to town and claimed a 2-1 win, Thursday, Sept. 6, the No. 3-ranked Royals were stunned after taking their first SEC loss in two years.

"They were much hungrier," Woodbury co-head coach Bill Ebertz said of the Park team.

The loss was book-ended by two wins - one over Edina on Sept. 4, the other against Bloomington Jefferson on Saturday, Sept. 8 - for Woodbury (5-1, 1-1 SEC).

After playing to a scoreless first half against Park, the Wolfpack went up 1-0 on a breakaway goal. A second breakaway goal put Park up 2-0.

"I think we got caught napping a little bit there," Ebertz said.

Junior midfielder Madison Gaffney lodged Woodbury's lone goal on a penalty kick with about eight minutes left.

Gaffney had a huge week for Woodbury, scoring every one of the team's four goals in the three games. She rotated into the forward position during the Park and Jefferson games with senior forward Kristina White away on recruiting visits.

"It would have been nice to have (White) at the games," Ebertz said of the senior soccer and basketball standout.

Ebertz said Park seized on its lone chance of the season to play Woodbury. The teams no longer play in the same section and face each other just once a season during SEC play.

"When both teams are talented, the team that is the most aggressive ... is usually going to win," Ebertz said. "There's no doubt (Park) is a team to reckon with. I'm kind of glad they're not in our section."

Against Edina, Gaffney recorded Woodbury's lone goal in the 1-0 win.

She produced again against Jefferson, where Woodbury won 2-1.

In that game, Ebertz said Jefferson scored after a miscommunication between goalkeeper Liz Sampson and defensemen.

Woodbury answered later in the half when Gaffney scored on a penalty kick.

Gaffney scored the winning goal on an indirect free kick about eight yards in front of the goal.

This week, Woodbury takes on more tough nonconference teams, beginning with St. Paul Academy on Thursday, Sept. 13. The Cadets were ranked No. 5 in the latest Class A coaches' poll.

Woodbury goes returns to the road on Saturday, Sept. 15, when they face No. 6-ranked Mahtomedi, a section foe.

The Royals began the week against Tuesday, Sept. 11, in a game against Cretin-Derham Hall that was played after the Bulletin went to press.

All three games this week are road games.

"I don't know if that's good or bad," Ebertz said. "We've been playing pretty good on the road."