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East Ridge boys soccer: Raptors beat rival Royals, dealt third seed in section

East Ridge junior Zach Boerjan tries to get past Woodbury junior Ben Miller Tuesday at Woodbury High School. The Raptors scored their first regular season win over the Royals with a 2-0 victory. (Bulletin photo by Nick Gerhardt)

The East Ridge boys soccer team won its first regular season matchup with district and Suburban East Conference rival Woodbury in the Woodbury Derby Tuesday with a 2-0 victory at Woodbury High School.

The victory marked just the second time the sixth-ranked Raptors (12-1-2, 6-1-2 SEC) have defeated the Royals (7-5-2, 5-2-2 SEC) in the history of the series.

East Ridge junior Connor Stevenson scored in the 24th minute on a shot from 10 yards out off a spectacular feed from junior Samuel Ruiz-Plaza. Stevenson buried the shot into the right side of the net to put the Raptors up 1-0 in the first half.

Ruiz-Plaza helped set up East Ridge’s second goal at the 52nd minute when senior Danny Muntner scored on a play set up by a pass from Ruiz-Plaza to Stevenson.

“Credit to Woodbury, they didn’t give us any room to breathe in the middle of the park,” East Ridge head coach Anthony Bidwell said. “Outside we had daylight and opportunities to build.”

The Raptors picked up their second consecutive victory after going 0-1-2 in its previous three games.

The rivalry game featured plenty of physical play with East Ridge getting whistled for several fouls throughout the game, setting up several set piece opportunities for Woodbury. But the Royals couldn’t finish on those chances.

Woodbury failed to score for the fifth consecutive game and has gone 0-4-1 in that span.

“It’s hard to score against good teams,” Royals head coach Joe Quintavalle said. “We had a couple of chances but we’re struggling scoring right now.”

Following the win over the Royals, East Ridge won a pair of 5-0 games over Forest Lake and Irondale to end the regular season. The win over Forest Lake (3-12-1; 1-7-1 SEC) gave East Ridge a second-place finish in the Suburban East Conference standings. Stillwater (11-2-3; 8-0-1 SEC) earned the conference championship crown.

East Ridge was dealt the No. 3 seed in the Section 4AA playoffs, which start this week.

The Raptors take on sixth-seeded White Bear Lake (6-7-3; 3-5-1 SEC) on Tuesday. The winner will face either second-seeded Stillwater or seventh seeded St. Paul Central on Thursday. North St. Paul (14-1-1) earned the No. 1 seed in Section 4AA and started the playoffs against eighth-seeded Tartan (6-9-1).

—Nick Gerhardt