New Richmond soccer team gets seventh seed, again
For the third time in the past four years, New Richmond will face River Falls in the opening round of the WIAA Division 2 girls soccer tournament. New Richmond is the seventh seed in the tournament bracket and River Falls is the second seed. The game will be played at 5 p.m. on Thursday at River Falls High School.
The winner of Thursday’s game will play again on Saturday, facing the winner of Thursday’s game between third seed Onalaska and sixth seed Menomonie. The team with the best seed will host Saturday’s game.
New Richmond coach Steve Tesar expressed some frustration about the seeding process. The Tigers received the same seed they did last season, despite an improvement of 11 wins over last year’s results. The Tigers are the only Middle Border Conference team in this section and they don’t schedule La Crosse area schools that are in the regional bracket.
The Tigers received the seventh seed while starting the week with a 12-8-1 record. Holmen, which received the fifth seed, carried a 6-8-2 record into this week. La Crosse Central, the fourth seed, started the week with a 7-12-1 record. Onalaska, the third seed, has a 9-8-1 record. Only the top team in the regional bracket, Tomah, has a better record than the Tigers. River Falls, the second seed, is 9-6-2, but has a head-to-head win over the Tigers.
“We were disappointed,” Tesar said of the low seeding. “We think our record reflects better.”
The Tigers were scheduled to play at Superior on Monday to complete their regular season schedule. That game was canceled and won’t be made up. Superior has locked up its third straight Middle Border Conference championship with a 14-0 record. The Tigers will use the extra time to practice for Thursday’s playoff game.
The Tigers added two more conference wins last week, moving their MBC record to 12-2-1 with wins over Amery and Barron, with both wins coming on the road.
Amery greeted the Tigers with an incredible defensive emphasis when the Tigers beat the Warriors 4-0 last Tuesday. The Tigers didn’t score until the 57th minute of the game. Once they got the first goal, the Tigers were able to score several more quick goals.
Tesar said Amery “played the whole game with nine girls in the box.” By huddling around their goalkeeper, the Warriors were trying to block New Richmond’s shots before they reached the keeper.
“We had over 40 shots,” Tesar said. “We kept kicking the ball at their keeper.”
Instead of letting the players rest during halftime, the Tiger coaches had the girls working on shooting skills during their 10-minute break.
The Tigers were able to get all four goals at Amery by battling for space in front of the Amery net. The first goal came when senior Tina Montpetit sent a corner kick into the goalie box. Junior Sydney Simpson was able to redirect the ball into the Amery goal.
The game was played in rainy conditions, with the slick ball becoming difficult for the keepers to control. The Tigers’ second goal came in the 67th minute when Cassie Kletschka fired a pass from the corner to the front of the net. The Amery keeper bobbled the ball and Montpetit was in the right position to grab control of the ball for a quick score.
The final two goals followed the same equation of using crossing passes from the corner to set up goals. Montpetit set up Crissy Kletschka for the third goal. The Kletschka sisters harmonized on the final goal, with Cassie setting up Crissy with 30 seconds left in the game.
The system that produced all four goals at Amery was continued on Thursday, when the Tigers scored a 6-2 win at Barron.
The Tigers peppered the Barron keeper with shots all night as the Tigers maintained control of the ball for long stretches of the game. The Tigers scored four times in the first half.
“We had maybe 45 to 50 shots,” Tesar said.
Montpetit again led the Tiger attack, scoring three goals. Freshman Reese Jacobson scored once and junior Sydney Sattler scored her first two varsity goals. Sattler has been battling injury problems for much of the season.
“Hopefully, with getting these goals, she’ll have more confidence,” Tesar said.