NEW BRIGHTON — After getting eliminated from the Suburban East Conference title chase with a lost to rival East Ridge last week, the Stillwater boys soccer team responded with a convincing 6-1 victory over the Knights on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at Irondale High School.

The Ponies (5-2-1 SEC, 11-2-2), who were scheduled to close out the regular season by hosting Cretin-Derham Hall on Oct. 7, were pushing hard all night in their victory over Irondale (1-6-1, 3-9-1). They didn’t always finish, but received first-half goals from Dylan Magistad and Michael Modean to jump in front of the Knights.

“We created a whole bunch of goal scoring opportunities,” Stillwater coach Jake Smothers said. “We played fast and used our depth. Everybody got into the game and, on a cleaner night, we probably score 8 to 10 goals.”

Irondale will finish in the bottom half of the conference standings, but the Knights played Woodbury to a 3-all tie earlier this season.

“Irondale has gotten some good results and they can be dangerous,” Smothers said.

The Knights scored on a free kick before halftime to pull within 2-1, but Stillwater regained a two-goal advantage on Magistad’s second goal just three minutes into the second half.

Mikias Taddess also scored twice in the second half as the Ponies pulled away.

“The message at the half was to tighten up the midfield, but keep creating goal scoring opportunities and they will come,” Smothers said.

After wrapping up the regular season against Cretin-Derham Hall, seeding for the Section 4AAA tournament is slated to be announced on Sunday, Oct. 10. The Ponies will likely host a quarterfinal game on Wednesday, Oct. 13. The semifinals are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16 and the finals are set for Tuesday, Oct. 19.

Stillwater 2 3 — 5

Irondale 1 0 — 1

St — 4:00 — Dylan Magistad (Riley Buxell)

St — 30:00 — Michael Modean (Buxell)

Ir — 32:00 — NA

St — 43:00 — Magistad (Liam De Jonge)

St — 68:00 — Mikias Taddess (Samuel Marshall)

St — 76:00 — Taddess (Blaine Batchelor)

Stillwater 3, New Richmond 0

At Oak Park Heights, the Ponies found the back of the net three times in the first half on the way to a 3-0 nonconference victory over New Richmond, Wis., on Saturday, Oct. 2 at Stillwater Area High School.

Mikias Taddess wasted little time for the Ponies, scoring just three minutes into the game.

Riley Buxell followed with a goal in the 20th minute for a two-goal cushion and Colin Vilme completed the scoring for Stillwater just three minutes after that.

“At 3-0, we felt pretty comfortable,” Ponies coach Jake Smothers said. “Everybody got into the game.”

It was an encouraging game for Stillwater just two days after falling to East Ridge.

“We did not train on Friday and I think that they came back with a little bit of an edge to them,” Smothers said. “New Richmond is a decent team and they have some big kids. I would say we played really well and were controlling the game and creating a number of scoring opportunities, but their goalie was excellent.

“It was a good bounce-back for us. To score right away after struggling to score on opportunities on Thursday was a big thing for us.”

New Richmond is 6-3-3 on the season.

New Richmond 0 0 — 0

Stillwater 3 0 — 3

St — 3:00 — Mikias Taddess (Colin Vilme)

St — 20:00 — Riley Buxell (Julian Schwendeman)

St — 23:00 — Vilme (Tohan Kumaran)

East Ridge 3, Stillwater 1

At Oak Park Heights, taking advantage of some defensive breakdowns by the Ponies, East Ridge scored twice in the second half to pull away for a 3-1 Suburban East Conference victory over Stillwater on Thursday, Sept. 30 at SAHS.

The third-ranked Raptors (5-1-2 SEC, 9-1-3) collected their fourth straight victory over 10th-ranked Stillwater. Prior to that, the Ponies had their own four-game winning streak against East Ridge that ended after Stillwater’s 2-1 triumph in the section finals on the way to a state championship in 2018.

“It was disappointing because if we win that game we would be the No. 1 seed and now we’ll be anywhere from second and fourth,” Stillwater coach Jake Smothers said. “You’re going to have days like that, but it’s unfortunate it was against them and not New Richmond.”

East Ridge struck first in the 18th minute on a goal by Ryder Sitcawich. Michael Modean eventually answered for the Ponies in the 55th minute, but the boost was short-lived as Ashton Johnson scored just 20 seconds later to regain a 2-1 lead.

Johnson scored an insurance goal in the 60th minute as the Raptors pulled away.

The goals allowed were preventable, the coach suggested.

“We were mentally unprepared to go back-to-back after a big win against Mounds View and then to turn around and play East Ridge, we just didn’t have it,” Smothers said. “All three goals were complete mental breakdowns by players who were mentally exhausted from two days, but it’s also very correctable stuff.”

The Ponies handed Mounds View its first conference loss on Sept. 28, but the Mustangs (7-1-0, 10-3-0) secured the SEC championship with one game remaining. East Ridge and Woodbury (5-1-2, 9-2-3) are tied for second place, one point ahead of the Ponies.

“We’re certainly as good as (the Raptors) are, but right now they’ve got our number,” Smothers said. “The game was fairly even in terms of chances and the two goals (in the second half) we conceded were just bad. It wasn’t like there was a build-up, these were just mental breakdowns. We also did not create nearly as many chances on goal and that’s something we got on the forwards about.”

East Ridge 1 2 — 3

Stillwater 0 1 — 1

ER — 18:00 — Ryder Sitcawich

St — 55:00 — Michael Modean (Connor Parker)

ER — 55:00 — Ashton Johnson

ER — 60:00 — Johnson

Contact Stuart Groskreutz at stuart.groskreutz@apgecm.com

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