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Woodbury boys lacrosse: Royals retain 'Big Oak Cup'

Woodbury beat Suburban East Conference and intra-district rival Park 8-6 at Woodbury High School on April 25 and retained the "Big Oak Cup" in its first defense opportunity.

One day, the Woodbury boys lacrosse team may have to give up its grip of the "SoWashCo Big Oak Cup." But that day wasn't Wednesday.

Woodbury beat Suburban East Conference and intra-district rival Park 8-6 at Woodbury High School on April 25 and retained the "Big Oak Cup" in its first defense opportunity.

"It was fun," Woodbury head coach Rich Limpert said. "It was good to see the blue versus the green and the guys compete. Both teams are kind of on the same plane. We're both young and a lot of guys are getting their first taste of the varsity field."

This year, each public high school in District 833 has its own boys lacrosse team for the first time. In District 833, lacrosse began at Woodbury High School, with Park having a few players in the cooperative program. After East Ridge opened in 2009, the three area high schools formed a one-team cooperative for one year. In 2010, however, Woodbury was separated and East Ridge and Park formed a cooperative for the past two seasons.

In 2010, former teammates from Woodbury and East Ridge/Park faced off against each other for the first time for the "SoWashCo Cup" - which was built by Woodbury resident Larry Hagen - with with Woodbury coming out on top 7-3. Last year, the Royals retained bragging rights and the cup with a 13-6 victory at East Ridge. East Ridge will have the last chance to take the traveling trophy from Woodbury on May 14.

In Woodbury's win over Park, the Royals took a slim 5-4 lead at the half, then went up 7-4 in the second half. Park cut the deficit to 7-6, but Woodbury scored with three minutes left to go up 8-6 and held on for the victory.

"It was a good game," Limpert said. "The guys came out a little flat. I don't know if they figured they were going to win just because they showed up and were wearing Woodbury jerseys or what. Park came out with heart and desire and really played smart. We had to adjust and go from there, but Park never let down."

Woodbury junior forward Jack Lyden led the way with three goals and junior midfielder Logan Dirkx scored two goals for the Royals (3-2; 3-1 SEC). In addition, juniors Ford Pendleton and Evan Broadbent and senior Derek Biebel each netted one goal.

Lyden leads Woodbury with 10 goals on the year. Dirkx is second in scoring with nine goals.

Last season, Woodbury scored 142 goals but didn't bring any players back that figured in on any of those goals. Mr. Lacrosse finalist Ben Alberts led Woodbury in scoring with 72 points on 35 goals and 37 assists. Blake Bergherr was second with 64 points on 36 goals and 28 assists and Matt Wardell had 20 points on 16 goals and four assists. However, each were 2011 grads.

"We returned zero goals and zero assists from last season," Limpert said. "Lyden and Dirkx and Broadbent have all been instrumental."

Limpert said senior captains Mac Mitsch, the goalie, and Jeff Rech, a defender, played big roles in the win over the Wolfpack as well.

"No matter who we're playing Rech stands out," Limpert said. "He's one of the best players we've ever had on the defensive side. Our goalie this year, Mac Mitsch, has been awesome this year too."

Prior to beating Park, Woodbury fell 6-3 to Mounds View. The Mustangs (2-4-1; 1-2-1 SEC) took a 3-2 lead on Woodbury at the half and hung on for the win. Dirkx had two goals in the game and Broadbent netted the other Royals' goal. Eighth grade goalie Chris Rolfing filled in for Mitsch in the nets. Mitsch was out with a concussion. Rolfing had 15 saves - including eight in the first quarter - in the loss.

"To be called on to play in a varsity game as an eighth grader is a big deal," Limpert said. "He was cool as a cucumber in there."

Limpert said after the game the officials commented how "respectful" the players on each team were and how the "played the game the way it should be."

"That was a big deal for our guys," Limpert said.

Woodbury traveled to Roseville (2-4; 1-2 SEC) on Monday after the Bulletin went to press. The Royals square off with Stillwater (4-3; 3-0 SEC) today at Woodbury High School.

"Our team is doing well," Limpert said. "We're building and I don't think we're going to have a far drop off from last year."