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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The East Ridge girls' swimming and diving team wrapped up its dual meet schedule on the winning side of a dual meet with Forest Lake on Thursday, Oct. 26. Contributing with first-place finishes for the Raptors were Chloe Wangensteen in the 200 individual medley (2:22.68), Kyra Bachman in the 50 freestyle (25.83), Kolbe Bachman in the 100 freestyle (58.04), Paige Smoley in the 100 backstroke (1:03.24) and Shivani Kolla in the 100 backstroke (1:14.48). East Ridge also got a win in the 200 medley relay as Smoley, Ali Smith, Max Smith and Daphne Smoley swam to a time of 1:58.76.
The East Ridge volleyball team is set to face Rosemount on Wednesday, Nov. 1, for a spot in the section championship game. Seeded second in the Class 3A, Section 3 playoffs, the Raptors took care of business against seventh-seeded Cretin-Derham Hall. East Ridge won the home playoff match 25-12. 25-16, 25-12 on Thursday, Oct. 26.
A big second quarter for Hill-Murray did in the Academy Force football team in a 56-30 loss to the Pioneers in the Class 4A, Section 3 playoffs on Oct. 24. Academy Force scored its only touchdown of the first half on a touchdown pass from Ben Teigland to Cooper Falteisek, but the defense could not slow Hill-Murray from taking a 24-6 lead at halftime.
The New Life Academy volleyball team is gearing up for postseason play this week. The Eagles wrapped up the regular season with a nonconference loss to Concordia Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Concordia won the match in three sets, 25-23, 25-17, 25-14. New Life Academy will have the opportunity to play at least one home match in postseason play after earning the fourth seed in the Class 1A, Section 4 playoffs. The Eagles finished the regular season with an 8-1 record in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association and a 14-13 mark overall.
East Ridge did not have much time to breathe before last week's MEA break. The Raptors played back-to-back weekend tournaments at St. Michael-Albertville and Lakeville North to wrap up the regular season schedule. Between those two tournaments, five-set victories against Stillwater and Forest Lake helped clinch the first Suburban East Conference title in program history. "It was a great way to end the season and kind of push us to our max going into sections," head coach Steve Anderson said.
The Academy Force football team is headed to Hill-Murray to start the Class 4A, Section 3 playoffs. Academy Force was named the fifth seed in the six-team section playoff bracket after finishing 1-7 in the regular season. The most recent defeat was by the score of 40-0 at home against St. Paul Highland Park on Wednesday, Oct. 18, in the regular season finale. Hill-Murray finished the regular season with a record of 2-6. Last season, the then-named New Life Academy football team defeated Hill-Murray 27-15 in the Class 4A, Section 3 playoffs.
Make that two straight wins for the Woodbury football team against crosstown rival East Ridge. The Royals received just enough offense to pull ahead by 10 points in the third quarter of Friday’s rivalry game with East Ridge. From there, the defense held off the Raptors for a 20-3 victory. It was the second straight win for Woodbury in the rivalry game after last year’s 47-25 victory.
With dozens of scholarship offers on the table, Woodbury senior defensive end David Alston had the luxury to be selective about where he would play football after high school. In the end, he chose a Big Ten university with a rich football tradition. Alston announced his decision on Twitter Friday morning, Oct. 6, to play football at the University of Nebraska once he graduates this spring.
Giveaways can be costly in football. Just ask the East Ridge football team. In an overtime game that ended with a 25-24 loss to Mounds View, head coach Dan Fritze lamented those costly mistakes from the Raptors’ offense. “It’s hard to be consistent when you turn the ball over three times,” Fritze said on Friday.
Before Friday, every game the Woodbury football team played this season had a final margin of seven points or less. But that changed in a big way during Friday’s homecoming game at Woodbury High School. The Royals’ defense shut out White Bear Lake, and the offense limited its mistakes in a 33-0 victory.