New Richmond girls soccer team splashes through first game
It should have been the New Richmond girls soccer team's 14th game.
Instead it was their first.
Thanks to the Rice Lake school administration, which made its artificial turf field available to teams throughout the area, the Tigers were one of several local teams that were able to play their first game of the season this weekend.
Once most of the snow and ice was removed from the turf, the Tigers battled Rice Lake on Saturday. The Warriors, playing their seventh game of the season, defeated the Tigers 4-1.
The starting time of the game was bumped back several times. First a layer of snow had to be removed from the turf. Below that was a layer of ice. Once the ice had sufficiently melted for the game to be played safely, the players took the field, though there was still a considerable amount of slush.
"It was not a normal game," said Tiger coach Steve Tesar, making the game fitting for what has been a highly abnormal season. "It was hard to pass and go and you couldn't dribble the ball."
Rice Lake's seasoning showed when the Warriors scored 70 seconds into the game. Tesar said that goal may have been the jolt the Tigers needed, saying he thought the Tigers outplayed Rice Lake in the next 10 minutes of the game.
The Tigers tied the score 10 minutes into the game. Klarissa Rozales made the score possible by winning a battle for the ball in the far left corner of the field. Rozales one-timed a pass to Kaycie Anderson, who found Sydney Simpson cutting between a pair of Rice Lake defenders. Simpson fired a shot from 18 yards out that found the lower corner of the goal.
The score stayed 1-1 until the 27th minute. Rice Lake scored just after the Tigers had rotated in several less experienced players. The score stayed at 2-1 through halftime, with the Warriors getting the only goals of the second half.
Tesar said he was pleased with many aspects of the Tigers' play on Saturday. He thinks the Tigers will be a strong defensive team. He is using a four defender lineup, with veterans Abby Skoyen and Tiffany Olek forming the heart of the defensive unit.
Taking over in goal this season is Caty Brayal. Tesar said that three of Rice Lake's goals were the result of defensive miscommunication. Brayal was able to get her hands on the fourth goal, but she couldn't stop the slippery ball. Brayal saw action last year on defense and Tesar said she has the right attitude to become a top goalkeeper.
Missing so many early season games has made it difficult for the Tigers to develop their on-field communication. He said it has been especially difficult to work the younger players into the lineup and gauge their skill levels.
The weather continues to keep the Tigers' schedule on hold. The team is scheduled to play at Spooner on Thursday, but that game isn't likely to happen. The Tigers are hoping that if their home field dries sufficiently over the weekend, they can schedule one of their makeup games for next Tuesday.