Game of the Week: East Ridge, Woodbury girls soccer teams renew rivalry today
GAME OF THE WEEK
Who: East Ridge vs. Woodbury girls soccer
What: Suburban East Conference season opener; intra-district derby
Where: East Ridge High School
When: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.
If it's not one of the top rivalries in high school soccer, I don't know what is.
The East Ridge and Woodbury girls soccer programs face off for the sixth time today - Wednesday, Aug. 29 - at East Ridge High School. With the Raptors-Royals derby, two teams full of players that grew up playing youth soccer together are on opposite sides of the field in this Suburban East Conference showdown.
Since East Ridge opened in south Woodbury in 2009, the two programs have been among the better clubs in the state every year.
In its first three seasons East Ridge is a combined 40-16-2 and already has one state tournament appearance. Last year's Raptors squad had the best record in team history, going 14-4 overall and finished third in the Suburban East Conference with a 6-3 league mark.
Woodbury, arguably the top girls soccer program in the state over the past decade, won the SEC championship last fall - its 10th straight SEC title - with a perfect 9-0 record, before qualifying for the state tournament with a Section Championship win over Mahtomedi. In the past nine seasons, Woodbury has reached the state tournament eight times - claiming four state titles in the process.
Woodbury holds a 4-1 advantage in the two teams' head-to-head matches, including ending East Ridge's season in the Section 4AA playoffs the past two years. However, each of the past four games the two teams have played has been decided by only one goal.
This fall, Woodbury - ranked sixth in the state - has started strong. The Royals are 2-0-1 with wins over fifth-ranked Eden Prairie, 1-0, and seventh-ranked Eagan, 2-1, and a 1-1 tie with eighth-ranked Duluth East. East Ridge, which was ranked 12th in the preseason poll, is currently 0-1-1 with a 2-1 loss to Andover and a 1-1 tie with St. Michael-Albertville.
Players to watch for Woodbury include: Senior forwards Kristina White and Lisa Huska, senior midfielder Bailey Lervick and senior goalie Liz Sampson. For East Ridge, players to keep an eye on include: senior goalie Kim Clinch, senior defender Elizabeth Koprucki, senior midfielder Noelle Arcand and senior forward Katelyn Bergloff along with junior midfielder Kari Solheim.