Hard work by Somerset girls soccer beginning to pay dividendsThe first five games for the Somerset girls soccer team might have looked like a train wreck, but the Spartans were searching for a rotation that would lead to sustained over the rest of the season.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The first five games for the Somerset girls soccer team might have looked like a train wreck, but the Spartans were searching for a rotation that would lead to sustained over the rest of the season.
The Spartans think things fell into place in last Thursday’s 1-1 tie against New Richmond.
The Spartans were outscored 31-3 in the first five games, but the young team had run up against some substantial opponents. The team’s defense showed some flaws in the first games, so Coach Erin Wilson decided to completely retool the team’s defense for last week’s games. The week started with a 7-2 loss to Amery. But when the Spartans face New Richmond, you can bet they’ll play their best. That happened again on Thursday.
“We’ve been starting with attitude and togetherness,” Wilson said of the changes made. “It’s a completely different team than it was a week ago.”
The main positional change was putting senior Amanda Kirk in charge of the Spartans’ defense.
“Amanda has single-handedly pulled our defense together,” Wilson said. “Consistency, communication, positive, those are all attributes she brings.”
The goals in Thursday’s game came within a four-minute span late in the first half. New Richmond scored on a corner kick in the 33rd minute.
The Spartans answered back quickly. The ball was knocked around in a scramble 20 yards away from the New Richmond goal. Senior Lisa O’Connor rifled a quick shot that was perfectly placed under the crossbar, scoring at the 36:54 mark.
Neither team scored again, but the 100 minutes of soccer were packed with action. Somerset played its best offense in the first half, using its best passing of the season to control the tempo.
The second half and the overtimes featured New Richmond constantly attacking the Spartan defense, but the defenders and goalkeeper Natalie Moses came up with save after save. New Richmond’s statistics credited the Tigers with taking 30 shots during the game.
Wilson said the Amery game last Tuesday was a turning point in Moses’ progression as a keeper. Amery got several of its goals because Moses was learning when to come out and challenge would-be scorers, especially on breakaways. She made a number of stops on breakaways against New Richmond, including a handful in the overtime.
The 7-2 score against Amery doesn’t accurately show how close the Spartans were in the game. Somerset trailed 2-1 at halftime. Amery booted the ball over the top several times in the second half, resulting in breakaway goals.
Both Somerset goals were scored by senior Laura Wells and both were outside the 18-yard box.
After a busy first few weeks, the Spartans now have a weeklong break between games. The next outing for the Spartans is next Tuesday, when the Spartans host Spooner.
This Friday the Somerset girls soccer and softball teams will hold their second annual “Kickaballoza.” This event pits the softball team against the soccer team in a game of kickball. The event will start at 4 p.m. at Larry Forrest Memorial Park.
This event is a fundraiser for the Somerset youth softball and youth soccer programs. Families are invited to enjoy the event and purchase concessions that will serve as the fundraiser. There will also be competitions for prizes, including the longest throw and the farthest kick.