Boys lacrosse: Royals retain ‘SoWashCo Cup’This season, the Royals retained bragging rights — and the “SoWashCo Cup” trophy — with a 13-6 Suburban East Conference win on Wednesday, May 11, at East Ridge High School.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, Woodbury Bulletin
It’s a game each player had circled at the start of the season.
Over two years ago, prior to the 2010 season, because of the addition of East Ridge High School to District 833, the Woodbury and Park cooperative boys lacrosse team was split into two teams — an East Ridge and Park cooperative team and a Woodbury-only team.
Last year, the former teammates faced off against each other for the first time for the “SoWashCo Cup” with Woodbury coming out on top 7-3.
This season, the Royals retained bragging rights — and the “SoWashCo Cup” trophy — with a 13-6 Suburban East Conference win on Wednesday, May 11, at East Ridge High School.
“This is a fun one,” Woodbury head coach Rich Limpert said.
Limpert has been the head boys lacrosse coach of Woodbury since its inception and has coached the majority of players on the East Ridge/Park sidelines as well as his own team.
“This is the last time a lot of the guys will play together on the same field and they’ve been playing together since eighth grade,” Limpert said. “It stinks that someone has to lose. But, the tradition and the kids and families involved is what’s greatest.”
Woodbury senior attacker Blake Bergherr has been playing lacrosse since seventh grade.
He had had six points in the win — on a goal and five assists — and is second on the Royals in scoring with 53 points (32 goals and 22 assists) in 10 games.
“We’ve been growing up with each other our whole lives and it’s pretty exciting to play against them,” Bergherr said. “We’d rather be playing together on the same team, but we got split and it is what it is. It’s a good rivalry now.”
In the win, Woodbury (4-6; 3-2 SEC) outscored East Ridge/Park 6-2 in the second period to turn a 1-1 tie into a 7-3 advantage and never looked back.
In the third period, East Ridge/Park was able to cut the deficit to 7-4, however, the Royals scored four consecutive goals to put the Raptors (4-6; 2-5 SEC) away.
With a large number of fans in the stands and alumni on the sidelines, Limpert said the game had a playoff atmosphere.
“One thing that’s been lacking with our team has been starting slow,” Limpert said. “But this game had them dialed in. The guys were ready to play — and East Ridge came out strong too. In this game, a few goals early can really change things and, fortunately, we came out on top.”
Bergherr said the win felt good.
“We’ve been coming out slow in our games this season, but today we knew it was a big game and wanted to get out to a lead early on these guys,” he said. “Once we got the lead we just tried to keep putting the ball in the net and it worked out. Two years in a row, coming out with a victory feels pretty good.”
Woodbury senior attacker Ben Alberts had seven points in the game on five goals and two assists. Alberts, who leads the Royals in scoring with 58 points on 27 goals and 31 assists, scored all four of Woodbury’s goals in the fourth period as the Royals pulled away from the Raptors. Additionally for Woodbury, junior Joey Lindberg had three goals, senior Matt Wardell scored two goals and Thomas Gand and Jim Rudesill each netted one goal. In the net for Woodbury, junior Josh Erickson made 11 saves for the win.
For East Ridge/Park, senior attacker David Ferguson scored two goals and juniors Brexton Turner and Luke Wetterstrom and seniors Emilio Rodriguez and Jake Matenaer each had one goal.
What has also been called the “Limpert SoWashCo Cup” was built by Woodbury resident Larry Hagen and was named in part for Limpert, who was instrumental in the development of the sport in the area — and who came up with the concept for an annual trophy for the boys lacrosse teams in District 833.
However, Limpert humbly said he’d rather the traveling trophy be called the “SoWashCo Big Oak Cup” in the future.
“I’m glad my name is off of it,” Limpert said. “It was a very nice gesture by the parents on both sides. We all started this together and I don’t want it to be about me. I’m flattered, but it’s not about me, it’s about the boys and their families and this sport. I’m a huge fan of this East Ridge team and the Park kids that are playing here and what they’re starting.”
After the loss, East Ridge/Park rebounded with a 6-3 non-conference win over Rochester John Marshall/Lourdes on Thursday, May 12, at East Ridge. Next, the Raptors take on a Minneapolis cooperative on Wednesday, May 18, at Minneapolis Edison before closing out the regular season on Friday, May 20, at Maple Grove.
Woodbury’s win over the Raptors was the team’s second straight. Prior to the win over East Ridge/Park, Woodbury beat Forest Lake 16-3 on Monday, May 9 in Forest Lake.
On the year, Woodbury has lost three one-goal games and two two-goal games.
Woodbury puts a cap on the regular season on Friday, May 20, against Totino-Grace at Woodbury High School.
“We’re two goals away in every game from being 9-1 at this point,” Limpert said. “We’re laying in the weeds a little right now, which isn’t a bad place to be. It’s all about peaking at the right time. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together and the boys are gelling. We’re in a good place right now.”