Somerset soccer takes "half step" forward
The Somerset boys soccer program has no longer lost every game it has played against New Richmond. But the Spartans still haven't beaten the Tigers either. Somerset built a 2-0 lead in the first half, then saw that lead slip from its grasp in a 2-2 overtime finish with the Tigers last Thursday.
The Spartans built the 2-0 lead on a pair of goals from senior Gavin Meader. But with New Richmond's history of success against the Spartans, Somerset coach Bill Roll told his players to expect a charge from the Tigers.
"I warned the guys we couldn't be content and we had to play urgent," Roll said.
New Richmond came back to tie the score with 10 minutes left in the regulation.
Instead of reeling, the Spartans regrouped. The Spartans may have played their best ball of the night in the overtime, generating several good shots. Spartan goalie Aaron Joppru also made an impressive save to deflect a Tiger shot that was headed toward the upper corner of the Spartan goal.
Roll said the Spartans' play was streaky the whole night, while New Richmond played a more consistent game. The Spartans weren't sharp for the first 15 minutes of the game, but they soon got cooking. Somerset's first goal came off a corner kick from Thomas Bauer. Jon Bucklew and Logan Wiederin made quick one-touch passes to get the ball to Meader at the corner of the net. From there, Meader quickly deposited the ball into the Tiger goal.
Meader scored again with 2:29 left in the half. Bucklew took a free kick at the top of the 18-yard box, getting the ball to Ryan Vang.
The tie came two days after the Spartans suffered their first Middle Border Conference loss, a frustrating 2-1 setback against Amery.
The Spartans led for much of this game, but Amery scored twice in the final 13 minutes to get the win.
"We made a couple costly mistakes and they took full advantage. That's what close games come down to," Roll said.
The Spartans took the 1-0 lead when Bucklew scored off a penalty kick.
Amery scored in the 67th minute on a shot from 30 yards out that went just under the crossbar. The Warriors got the game winner in the 71st minute. The Spartans turned the ball over at midfield and Amery leading scorer Michael Elbing got the deciding goal.
Bounce back at Barron
The Spartans completed their brutal stretch of the MBC schedule on Monday by getting a 4-2 win at Barron. Roll said the stretch of playing the three top MBC opponents consecutively (Amery, New Richmond and Barron) was heightened by facing Ashland right before that stretch began.
In Monday's win the Spartans scored twice in each period. Meader scored the opening goal, taking a pass from Wiederin in front of the goal to score in the 18th minute. Barron tied the game six minutes later.
Bucklew broke the tie in the 30th minute. JT Karis slotted a pass to Bucklew, who beat a Barron defender to the outside. Bucklew's angled shot hit the far post and bounded into the goal.
Bucklew scored again three minutes into the second half, with Wiederin getting the assist. The Spartans built the lead to 4-1 in the 54th minute. Karis dribbled the ball to the end line, before finding Wiederin open for a shot in front of the net.
Roll said he thought the Spartans played well, though he'd like to see more of the team's possessions result in shots.
The Spartans return to action this Thursday with a home game against Spooner. The Spartans will also be at home next Monday against Osceola before making the trip to Hayward next Tuesday.