John Molene / contributor
This one was almost too easy. Fourth-seeded New Life Academy romped past visiting North Lake Academy in the second round of Section 4A volleyball Tuesday, Oct. 24. The host Eagles easily won in straight sets, defeating the 13th-seeded Huskies 25-5, 25-5, 25-7. Stellar serving by players such as junior Kate Rogers and sophomore Hannah George keyed the Eagles. Many of New Life's points came on serves that the Huskies simply couldn't handle or return.
The Woodbury Royals led two sets to one and 6-1 in the fifth set but couldn't hold on and dropped a season-ending loss to visiting Irondale Oct. 24. Irondale won in five games, 18-25, 25-14, 20-25, 25-11 and 15-11. Woodbury jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fifth and deciding set and seemed poised to advance to the next round. But Irondale rallied to tie the game at 7-all and then 8-all. The Knights then closed it out by winning seven of the next 10 points. "We were just mentally unstable today," said Woodbury head coach Cassie Cahill
South Washington County Thunderbolts continued their roll through the adapted soccer division, this time by a 16-1 count. The Thunderbolts dominated visiting St. Paul Humboldt Oct. 24 in their next-to-last game of the regular season. The Thunderbolts improved to 8-0 in the CI South standings with the win, a half-game ahead of Chanhassen/Chaska/Prior Lake/Shakopee for the league lead. "I couldn't be more proud of everybody getting in and participating," said Thunderbolts head coach John Culbertson. "It's the only way to learn, is to play."
The East Ridge Raptors keep banging on U.S. Bank Stadium's door. But a new East Ridge team will have to try to find a key to get in. Third-seeded Maple Grove locked East Ridge out of advancing to the state semifinals at U.S. Bank Stadium with a 3-0 victory on a cold and wet quarterfinal at Chisago Lakes High School Thursday, Oct. 26. The fourth-ranked Crimson (18-2) will play Lakeville North (10-5-4) in one state semifinal game Tuesday at U.S. Bank Stadium. Wayzata and Eagan meet in the other semifinal.
With a new young coach and just one senior on the team, youthful Woodbury struggled to open the season. The Royals turned it around however, as evidenced by their 2-2 finish in the Bloomington Jefferson Tourney Oct. 14, and their three-game sweep of visiting Park Oct. 17. Woodbury won at home in straight sets in the final regular-season match for both teams. After starting the season 0-8, the Royals have steadily made progress. Woodbury went 6-6 over the last two thirds of the season, including 4-4 in the Suburban East Conference.
Minus 13 seniors off last season's state tournament team, this might have been a bit of a down year for the East Ridge Raptors. Instead, the host Raptors overcame visiting Mounds View in the Section 4AA finals Tuesday, Oct. 17, winning 2-1, to earn a second straight trip to the girls state soccer tournament.
There was no doubt about it: The Raptors were due for a big win. And as the final few points were played in a thrilling back-and-forth match against fourth-ranked Stillwater, the Raptors knew they finally had one. "It's a huge win for the team, for the program and for us going forward," said East Ridge head coach Steve Anderson.
Eighth-ranked East Ridge broke away from a stubborn Park team to advance to the Section 4AA boys soccer semifinals. The Raptors and Wolfpack were tied 0-0 at the half, but East Ridge pushed across a pair of second-half goals for a 2-0 victory. East Ridge (10-3-2) will host crosstown rival and third-seeded Woodbury (11-3) on Thursday in a match starting at 5 p.m. The 10th-ranked Royals thrashed Hastings 8-0 to advance to the section semifinals. In the regular-season match between the two schools this season, East Ridge scored a 5-0 win.
With most of the same players returning off last season's successful team, the South Washington County Thunderbolts are once again rolling. The undefeated Thunderbolts knocked off visiting Dakota United, winning 12-1 in adapted soccer Wednesday, Oct. 11, at East Ridge. Senior forwards Bryce Smith and Ryan Schmidt each scored three goals for South Washington County. Nicholas Jones added two scores.
It was just a matter of time. The East Ridge Raptors pounded the ball time and time against the visiting St. Paul Central Minutemen. Finally, with just 6:58 to play, one went in. Then came the big one. East Ridge rallied from a 1-0 deficit with seven minutes to play, then won it in overtime on a goal by senior co-captain Linnea Yacovella for a 2-1 overtime win over St. Paul Central and a berth in the Section 4AA girls soccer semifinals.