Emily Bunnell scored three goals to help East Ridge defeat Stillwater 4-0 on Tuesday. The Raptors advance to the Class 2A state tournament with the win. Photo by Trevor Rodriguez, SportsEngine
East Ridge coach Mark Abboud believed his team would score five goals against Stillwater in Tuesday night’s Class 2A, Section 4 championship.
The second-seeded Raptors nearly fulfilled Abboud’s expectation. They finished a goal short but defeated the top-seeded Ponies 4-0 at Stillwater High School, earning a bid to the Class 2A state tournament.
Senior midfielder Emily Bunnell led the Raptors (14-4-1) with three goals, despite battling a lingering illness. Two of her goals came in the first half.
Abboud said the Minnesota High School Soccer Coaches Association’s Ms. Soccer candidate had played in a limited capacity in the team’s last four games but wouldn’t let that slow her Tuesday.
“Emily’s such a competitor, I had no doubt that she was going to bring her 'A' game,” Abboud said.
Sophomore forward Linnea Yacovella scored the other goal for East Ridge, ranked No. 6 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll.
A blend of veteran experience (13 seniors) and young talent (four sophomores and one freshman) was key to the Raptors' success this season, Abboud said.
“I knew four years ago that this year was going to be a good year for us with the number of seniors that we (would have),” Abboud said.
Covering the backend for the Raptors was goalkeeper Erika Freiberg, who had six saves.
Stillwater’s goalie, Evie Kohn, had seven.
Stillwater coach Michael Huber said that despite the score, he admires the way the No. 1-2A Ponies (16-3-0) finished the game.
“They hung in there throughout the game,” Huber said. “We just lost to the better team tonight.”
East Ridge dominated Stillwater 4-0 Tuesday to advance to the Class 2A state tournament. Photo by Trevor Rodriguez, SportsEngine