There’s never a bad time to have a brilliant season. By brilliant we mean 11 victories in as many matches. Make that 11 three-set sweeps in as many starts for upstart East Ridge.
The Raptors (11-0, 11-0) have been confined to the Suburban East Conference this fall as schedules have been trimmed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the Minnesota State High School League has limited postseason play to section tournaments only this season, we’ll never know how the Raptors, ranked No. 5 in the Class 3A coaches' poll from Nov. 15, might have fared against other prominent big schools, such as top-ranked Wayzata, No. 2 Eagan or No. 3 Shakopee.
So while the timing of East Ridge’s dream season could be considered less than ideal, the Raptors can only concern themselves with opponents such as Stillwater, whose only loss came to East Ridge in its Oct. 10 season opener. Senior Lauren Galvin and sophomore Mikayla McDougall are among the top hitters for the Raptors, who feature a standout setter in senior Audrey Spolidoro.
Stillwater (9-1, 9-1) relies on the hitting of senior outside hitter Lauren Riniker. The Ponies also got strong performances from junior middle hitter Sydney Shaffer and sophomore middle hitter Tori Liljegren in a tough 3-2 victory over Woodbury on Nov. 11.