Girls Soccer: Raptors offense can’t connect in state loss to Andover
The East Ridge girls soccer team had a knack of converting scoring chances into goals on its way to a Class 2A, Section 4 championship.
The Raptors outscored opponents 11-0 in three section games. But that was not the case in Thursday’s Class 2A state quarterfinals against Andover at Chisago Lakes High School.
The Raptors produced a majority of the scoring chances in the first half of the game. But the half ended in a 0-0 tie. The Huskies turned the tide in the second half and scored twice on their way to a 2-0 win to eliminate East Ridge from the state tournament.
“I would say we stopped connecting as much as in the first half,” senior forward Noelle Tomes said about the difference between the two halves. “The first half, everyone touched it, and we were getting great opportunities. In the second half we kind of stopped moving the ball to each other, and then we were playing a defensive half.”
The Huskies started putting pressure on the Raptors after stopping the offense in the first half. Junior midfielder Ali Jenkins scored on a shot into the left corner in the 63rd minute to put Andover up 1-0. After assisting on the goal, Rebecka Musungu added her own goal in the 73rd minute to put the Huskies up 2-0.
After the game, head coach Mark Abboud recognized the Huskies’ efforts on the attack in the second half.
“To Andover’s credit, they were feisty,” Abboud said. “They made us play. I thought the first five minutes we were all over them. We had our chances, and when we can’t put them away, we let teams stick around a little bit.”
The Raptors’ players agreed that the game got a little tougher once they were facing a one-goal deficit.
“After that, it was definitely harder,” Tomes said. “Our spirits come down and everyone panics.”
The Raptors were given the number one seed in the bracket after heading into the state tournament with a record of 14-4-1. The group, which included 13 seniors, hoped to at least advance to the semifinals and play at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
But East Ridge’s hopes were dashed by Andover.
“The real disappointing thing is that we’re not going to be able to hang around with each other after school like we’ve done the last two months,” Abboud said. “We’re a real close-knit group. That’s what a lot of the girls are going to miss. That’s what I’m going to miss.”
Abboud told the players last week that this would be his last season coaching the East Ridge girls soccer team. He has been the coach for the past seven years, and he is the only girls soccer coach in the history of East Ridge.
Abboud is the father of two girls ages 10 and 7, and he plans to take a break from coaching to spend time with his girls and watch them play fall soccer. He also is planning on moving to Minneapolis from the East Metro.
“It’s tough, I’ve enjoyed my seven years with the program,” Abboud said. “It would have been nice to go out on a better note than this, but this one’s going to sting a lot.”