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Girls Soccer: Early goals help Raptors advance to section finals

Linnea Yacovella moves the ball in front of the Mounds View defense during Thursday's section semifinals game. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 2
Noelle Tomes fights for the ball during the second half of Thursday's section semifinals game at East Ridge. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 2

The East Ridge girls soccer team took advantage of some early pressure in the Class 2A, Section 4 semifinals on Thursday.

Linnea Yacovella got the scoring started on a penalty kick in the seventh minute to give the Raptors a 1-0 lead at home versus Mounds View. Yacovella scored her second goal 22 minutes later to put the Raptors ahead 2-0. They held on from there to advance to the section finals game on Tuesday.

The two first half goals were not only a help for East Ridge on the scoreboard. They were able to loosen up a little more as well.

“I think it helped our confidence a lot,” Yacovella said. “I think putting away a team early is helpful for everyone.”

Yacovella scored her second goal thanks to some help from teammate Ashley TeGantvoort. A shot from TeGantvoort deflected off the Mounds View goalkeeper, and Yacovella was there to knock it into the net.

East Ridge assistant coach Jamie Watson said the players executed the game plan perfectly in the first half.

“The girls did a great job getting pressure early,” Watson said. “It was the best I’ve seen all season. I think coach Mark (Abboud) really prepared them for that, and that was part of the game plan. And I think they executed it brilliantly.”

Now the Raptors are gearing up to play either Stillwater or White Bear Lake in the section finals. Those two teams were playing in the section semifinals on Thursday night.

After coming out with a steady attack on Thursday, East Ridge hopes to do more of the same in Tuesday’s section finals game.

“Match the intensity that we came out with tonight,” Watson said about the Raptors’ game plan for next Tuesday. “The first half was about the best 45 minutes that we’ve put together all season.”

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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