Somerset gets its first soccer win over New Richmond, takes MBC lead
The first-ever win for the Somerset boys soccer team over New Richmond will be one the Spartans remember forever.
Somerset senior Gavin Meader scored his third goal of the game at the 8:27 mark in overtime to give the Spartans a 3-2 win over New Richmond on Monday at the Somerset High School field.
The win propels Somerset into the lead in the Middle Border Conference standings. If the Spartans can win their final three MBC games (Oct. 1 vs. Barron, Oct. 8 at Spooner and Oct. 10 at Osceola) they will win the first conference championship in team history.
Meader’s overtime goal set off a huge celebration, but Somerset coach Bill Roll was quick to remind the team that they still had three more conference games on the schedule.
“I told them we haven’t won anything yet,” Roll said, knowing they had to play Barron the following day and the Bears have given the Spartans some tough battles in recent years.
The pressure was on the Spartans in the overtime and they knew it. If the game had ended in a tie, New Richmond would have remained ahead of Somerset in the conference standings. Somerset applied heavy pressure in the early minutes of the overtime, but New Richmond began matching that intensity midway through the 10-minute period.
That’s when Somerset senior Jon Bucklew got control of the ball. Bucklew darted through the New Richmond defense, ripping a shot from 15 yards out. His shot struck the crossbar and deflected to the far side of the goal. Meader had made the run upfield parallel to Bucklew and the rebound went right to him. Meader settled the ball and an instant later, drove his shot into the lower corner of the goal for the win.
Meader’s three goals on Monday tie him for the lead in the state among goal scorers with 30. Bucklew is just behind him with 28 goals.
Both teams had leads in the game, though neither lead lasted long. Meader scored the game’s opening goal, 6:43 into the action. He took a long lead pass down the left side of the field and fired a sharp-angled shot that found the far corner of the goal.
New Richmond tied the score at the 9:50 mark.
The score stayed at 1-1 until New Richmond scored at the 74:05 mark. The pressure now was squarely on the Spartans’ shoulders and they charged the Tiger goal with several scoring chances. Meader scored at the 77:06 mark, pulling the ball out of a scrum and snapping a quick shot into the goal.
“We’ve become the team that’s resilient,” Roll said. “They don’t quit, that’s for sure.”
This was the Spartans’ second straight overtime win against one of their top MBC opponents. The Spartans went to Amery last Thursday and pulled out a 2-1 overtime win.
This time it was Bucklew who got the game-winner. The goal started off a Spartan corner kick. That kick went to JT Karis, who tried a quick shot. His shot was blocked, but the ball bounced directly to Bucklew and he slid the ball into the goal.
Bucklew also scored Somerset’s first goal, in the game’s 43rd minute. Logan Wiederin slotted a pass across to Bucklew at the top of the 18-yard box. The Amery goalie was able to get his fingers on Bucklew’s shot, but he couldn’t prevent it from getting into the net.
Amery forced the game into overtime by scoring with 96 seconds left in regulation.
Roll said the Spartans showed the benefits of being a senior-heavy club at this point. He said they shook off the disappointment of that goal quickly and they were back on the offensive when the overtime started.
The Spartans had a different challenge when they played at Cumberland last Tuesday. It took the Spartans a half to get accustomed to the new artificial turf in Cumberland. The game was scoreless at halftime, before Somerset scored three times in the first eight minutes of the second half. From there the Spartans rolled to a 6-0 victory.
Bucklew and Meader each scored three times in that win. Cumberland hadn’t lost in its previous seven games.
The Spartans are now awaiting word on where they will be seeded in the WIAA Division 3 tournament bracket. Roll has been lobbying to get the Spartans one of the top two seeds in the regional tournament field. The bracket is expected to be released on Wednesday. The Spartans will play their first tournament game on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Somerset will face another of the top teams in the regional tournament this Thursday when the Spartans host Rice Lake in Somerset’s final regular season home game.