New Richmond soccer improves its playoff possibilities
With the WIAA shifting to four divisions for boys soccer this year, a whole new window of opportunity has opened up for the New Richmond boys soccer team.
Instead of playing in Division 1, where they seemed to run up against teams like Hudson or Eau Claire Memorial every year, the Tigers will be competing in Division 2 this year. And the Tigers seem intent on taking full advantage of the opportunity. The Tigers improved to 2-0 against other teams in their Division 2 regional bracket by defeating River Falls 3-1 last Friday. The Tigers already had scored a 3-1 win over Menomonie on Sept. 7.
In facing River Falls the Tigers had a clear advantage, possessing the ball much more of the time. River Falls was able to get a few scoring chances in the first half, but the Tigers cleaned up their defensive communication to take away most of those chances in the second half.
"We should have a number one seed in the region based off that win," said Tiger coach Pete Melloy.
The only goal of the first half was scored by Tiger stopper Casey Turnipseed. He'd pushed upfield as part of the Tigers moving in unison with the ball. When the ball was passed back to him, he dribbled in a few steps and fired a shot that found the lower left corner of the goal.
The Tigers went ahead 2-0 at the 57:59 mark on a goal by Josh Geigle. The Tiger coaches have been urging Geigle to use his speed as a weapon. He did on this play, carrying the ball down the sideline, then turning inside at the goal line. A Wildcat defender was stationed at the near post. Geigle unleashed a shot that hit the defender in the chest and glanced into the goal.
The third Tiger goal was scored by Luke Landaal on a breakaway at the 71:47 mark. The play was set up by an excellent lead pass from Nathan Feiner.
This was the first time the Tigers have ever beaten River Falls in the regular season. The only previous win for the Tigers came in 2008 when they upset River Falls in the opening round of the WIAA playoffs.
The Tigers also earned a pair of Middle Border Conference wins over the past week.
On Monday the Tigers rolled over Spooner 10-0 in a game that was ended after 60 minutes. Last Tuesday the Tigers scored a 5-0 win at Barron.
Monday's win over Spooner pitted the Tigers against one of the most inexperienced teams in the conference. Melloy started six freshmen and several reserves to use the game as a learning experience for his younger players.
Two Tigers, Zach Landt and Carter Hagen, scored the first varsity goals of their careers in the game. The rest of the goals were well distributed throughout the team with Mitch Giannini scoring twice and Jack Hop, Sam Hagen, Brad Brusewitz, Adam Schoepke, Landaal and Geigle each scoring once.
The Tigers went to Barron last Tuesday and earned a 5-0 win. The Tigers got off to a good start when Jack Hop scored on a free kick at the 6:54 mark. Giannini six minutes later, taking a pass from Landaal and making a nice cut to the net. The lead was expanded to 3-0 at the 28:18 mark when Sam Hagen took a pass from Landt and unleashed a shot into the upper corner of the net.
The Tigers added goals from Landaal and Giannini in the second half.
With their three wins this week, the Tigers are now 9-0-2 for the season.