New Richmond boys soccer unbeaten season ends against Somerset
The undefeated season of the New Richmond boys soccer team came to a sudden end on Monday.
The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season when they lost in overtime at Somerset, 3-2. This is the first time Somerset has ever defeated the New Richmond boys team. The Tigers now stand at 14-1-2 for the season. The Tigers will now need another team to defeat Somerset for New Richmond to have a chance at a Middle Border Conference championship.
New Richmond had the wind at its back for the first half of Monday’s game and that helped the Tigers to dominate control of the ball. The Tigers had numerous scoring opportunities in the first half, but the score was tied 1-1 at halftime. The Tiger goal came 9:50 into the game when Shane Blackman scored off an assist from Nathan Feiner.
In the second half Somerset challenged the Tigers much more and New Richmond wasn’t able to control the ball or the tempo of the game as it had in the first half.
“We weren’t composed,” said Tiger coach Pete Melloy. “In the second half we panicked with the ball. They forced us into things we normally don’t do.”
The Tigers briefly held a 2-1 lead in the second half. Luke Landaal scored his 21st goal of the season after Casey Turnipseed won a battle for the ball and got it to Landaal 10 yards from the goal.
Somerset came back to tie the score three minutes later. This was perhaps the most frustrating moment of the game for the Tigers, because they had chances to clear the ball from a scrum in front of the net, but failed to do so.
Most of Somerset’s scoring chances came on long lead passes, as the Spartans tried to isolate leading scorer Gavin Meader against Tiger defenders. Melloy said the Tigers knew this strategy was coming and the Tigers should have done a better job of helping the outside defenders in those cases.
Somerset won the game when Meader knocked in a rebound after Jon Bucklew made a long run upfield with the ball.
Melloy said the Tigers’ control of the ball was reflected in the total shots in the game. Tiger statistics had New Richmond outshooting Somerset 25-11 in the game.
The Tigers can’t let up, because they still have several challenging games on the schedule. They play at home on Thursday against Barron. They will be in action at 11 a.m. on Saturday, hosting Hastings, Minn. The Tigers face another tough non-conference game on Monday, when they play at Hudson in a 7 p.m. start. The Tigers complete the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 10, when they play at winless Spooner.
Melloy said these games will be used to get the team ready for the WIAA Division 2 playoffs, which begin on Tuesday, Oct. 15. Seeding for the regional tournament bracket will be announced this week and Melloy said he is hoping for a top seed in the bracket. The Tigers are in a bracket with Holmen, La Crosse Central, La Crosse Logan, Menomonie, Onalaska, River Falls and Tomah.
Last week the Tigers notched conference wins against Cumberland and Baldwin-Woodville, but the games couldn’t have been more different. The Tigers used their edge in quickness to completely control Cumberland, winning 7-0 last Thursday. Two days earlier, the Tigers struggled at Baldwin-Woodville, winning 2-1.
Exceptional passing created numerous scoring chances against Cumberland. Josh Geigle produced his first three-goal game in the win. Turnipseed and Landaal each scored twice in the win.
Melloy said the struggles at Baldwin last Tuesday weren’t all the Tigers’ fault, saying the B-W squad played extremely well. The Blackhawks’ upfront style of defense has given the Tigers trouble in the past.
Adam Schoepke scored the Tigers’ first goal. He took a lead pass from Turnipseed and made a strong run down the left side of the field, tucking the ball in the lower right corner of the goal.
The Tigers went ahead 2-0 when Geigle scored off a header, with Jack Hop getting the assist. B-W scored with six minutes left in the game.