2012 Spring Preview: Raptors girls lacrosse team ready to take flightThis spring, East Ridge launches its own girls lacrosse program and Amy Fortney will help the Raptors take flight.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
This spring, East Ridge launches its own girls lacrosse program and Amy Fortney will help the Raptors take flight.
East Ridge, which held a cooperative team with Woodbury the past two seasons, the East Ridge-Woodbury Griffins, is breaking away from its partner and is forming its own team for 2012.
Fortney, a Syracuse (N.Y.) native most recently coached for the Saint Andrew’s School in Boca Raton, Florida, where she spent four seasons as an assistant coach and interim head coach. She moved to Minnesota in order to teach and coach.
When hired, Fortney said for most coaches “it’s a dream to start your own program.”
“It is such an incredible time for us to be starting a new program at East Ridge,” Fortney said. “We have had really incredible participation numbers and the buzz around the team is really exciting. We have an opportunity to start to write our own history and build something really special. It is going to take a lot of hard work and passion, but the future is bright for the Raptors.”
Since its inception into the Minnesota State High School League, the girls lacrosse program in District 833 area operated as a cooperative between Park and Woodbury. However, the addition of East Ridge in 2009 called for a re-examination of the situation. In December of 2010, the high school league approved the district’s proposal for a Woodbury-East Ridge cooperative and a Park-only program and the teams operated that way in 2010 and 2011.
However, this year, all three District 833 public high schools will have their own girls – and boys – lacrosse teams for the first time.
Last year, the East Ridge-Woodbury Griffins were coached by Kara Vier. Following a 1-12 season two years ago, the Griffins made strides last season, improving to 5-7 overall and 1-6 in the Suburban East Conference. The Griffins concluded its season with an 11-10 loss to Benilde St. Margaret’s in the first round of Section 5 playoffs at Royal Stadium.
The Woodbury-East Ridge co-op team said good-bye to six seniors last year— leading scorer Stephanie Bainbridge, team captain Jackie Hegg, Katie Schulte, Elizabeth Straub, Ashley Hohenstein and Erin Driscoll.
Some key returning players for East Ridge include team captains Sarah Ringgenberg and Sarah Bailey, who are seniors, and underclassmen Jess Hammer, Ella Frazer and goalie Cara Kaufer.
It’s expected that the top competition in the Suburban East Conference this year will be Stillwater, Cretin-Derham Hall, Mounds View and Roseville. With a number of powerful west-metro teams adorning Section 5, the postseason won’t be easy. Defending state champion Blake is expected to be the team to beat in the section.
East Ridge opens the season on Monday at Irondale. The Raptors take on its former cooperative team Woodbury – which is a conference and section opponent – for the first time at East Ridge, Monday, May 14, at 7 p.m. The section tournament starts in just over a month – on Wednesday, May 23.