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Boys' soccer: Woodbury Royals fall short to defending champs in section final

Royals junior Ryker Mischo (center) fights for control of the ball from the Stillwater Ponies’ Nicholas Smetana during the Class 4AA section final game Tuesday, Oct. 17. Christopher David McLaughlin / contributor1 / 4
Junior Scott Sampson (center), goalie for the Royals, heads the starting lineup during the Class 4AA section final game against Stillwater Tuesday, Oct. 17. Christopher David McLaughlin / contributor2 / 4
Woodbury’s Pheng Xiong drives the ball down the field during the Class 4AA section final game against the Stillwater Ponies Tuesday Oct. 17, at Stillwater. Christopher David McLaughlin / contributor3 / 4
Woodbury junior Cade Keesling (from left) and seniors Trenten Sayles and Pheng Xiong accept the 4AA section second place medal during an awards ceremony following the Royals’ 1-0 loss to Stillwater Tuesday, Oct. 17. Christopher David McLaughlin / contributor4 / 4

Woodbury faced the steep climb of beating a defending Class 2A state boys soccer championship team in Stillwater twice in the same season on Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Stillwater (16-1-2) had lost only once since 2015, a Sept. 21 defeat against the Royals. Woodbury (12-4) came to the defending champ's home field and escaped with a 1-0 victory.

Anthony Wong had the goal for Woodbury in that upset victory, which ended Stillwater's 33-game unbeaten streak. The Royals did it despite getting outshot 22-7.

Woodbury didn't find the same moxie on Tuesday in a 1-0 loss at Stillwater for the Class 2A Section 4 title game with only two shots on goal. Stillwater junior midfielder Max Stauffer scored the game winner with 10:50 left in the game.

It marked the first goal of the section tournament allowed by the Royals, who shut out East Ridge 1-0 Oct. 12 and Hastings 8-0 Oct. 10. Junior goalkeeper Scott Sampson had to make big stops throughout for the Royals against Stillwater to keep things scoreless until the final 10:50 of the contest.

Sampson stopped a close shot in the 20th minute of the first half, and he faced six overall in the half. He also stopped a shot in the 49th minute on a header by senior midfielder Maxwell Timmons. The Royals keeper finished with eight saves overall.

Woodbury had limited offensive opportunities against the Ponies, including no shots on goal in the second half.

Despite the loss, the Royals finished their season with a 10-game improvement in the win column from last year's 2-11-2 mark. The Royals also completed their deepest section tournament run since 2010, which also ended in the final against Stillwater in a 1-0 defeat that year.