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Girls Soccer: Raptors bounce back from loss last week

It was an up-and-down week for the East Ridge girls soccer team.

The Raptors started the week by losing their first game of the season to Rosemount 1-0 last Tuesday.

But East Ridge bounced back to defeat state-ranked Stillwater 2-1 on Thursday. Perhaps the toughest matchup came on Saturday, when two-time Class 2A defending state champion Eagan visited East Ridge. The two state-ranked soccer teams played to a 0-0 draw.

Head coach Mark Abboud said East Ridge’s depth helped the Raptors put some pressure on Eagan at the end of Saturday’s game. They played 18 players in the game and were able to take advantage of Eagan’s tired legs.

“We were really disappointed to leave with a tie,” Abboud said. “We created a whole bunch of scoring chances, hit the post and put three (shots) just over the net.”

On Thursday, Brittany Mahowald got the Raptors’ offense started by scoring a goal off a rebound from Linnea Yacovella. Abboud said Yacovella took a “great shot” from about 30 yards out. The ball hit the crossbar and set up Mahowald for the goal. Stillwater scored just before halftime to tie the game at 1-1.

But the Raptors responded with the game-winning-goal from Kendall Stevenson. She scored on a volley from 25 yards that went in the net near the far post.

Abboud said Stevenson had played only a “handful of minutes” in all of the games before Thursday. But she was a big factor.

“She continued to do well and earned some more time from us in the second half,” Abboud said. “She was able to step up and hit the goal. It was a great model for the rest of our team that even though you are not a starter, if you continue to work hard and stay positive in practice and at the games you never know when you’ll be called upon to perform.”

The grass was long on Rosemount’s field last Tuesday, which Abboud said negated some of East Ridge’s skill set in the 1-0 loss. It was a hard fought game with the only goal going to Rosemount in the first half.

“It was a good battle, and it’s not a bad thing that we lose a game,” Abboud said. “It will keep us motivated.”

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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