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Tigers keep up their success at home, beat Rice Lake, Hayward

The New Richmond boys soccer team continues to be nearly unbeatable on their home field.

On Monday the Tigers swarmed all over Rice Lake, beating the Warriors 4-1. Last Tuesday the Tigers scored another key home field win, beating Hayward 4-2.

The only loss of the week for the Tigers came last Thursday, when they were beaten at Cumberland 4-1.

It took the Tigers a couple minutes to get rolling in Monday's win, but once the Tigers found their legs, they controlled most of the action in the game.

The Tigers scored early in the first half. Mitchell Cooper was fouled after making a nice move, leading to a penalty kick. Jeremy Lyons was called on to take the kick, and he drilled it past the Warrior goalie for the score.

Junior Brian Figueroa scored the next two Tiger goals. The first came off a long lead pass. Figueroa used his speed to race past the Rice Lake defenders. The Warrior goalie came out of the net to try stealing the ball, but Figueroa dodged him, then tapped the ball into the net.

Figueroa's second goal looked more like a hockey play. He got the ball in the deep corner of the field. He moved the ball along the end line toward the goal. The goalie gave him a small opening just inside the post, and that's all Figueroa needed. He punched the ball into that opening to make the lead 3-0.

The Tigers went ahead 4-0 in the second half. Bradley Gartner got a free kick from 45 yards out. He put the ball on goal, and Chad Weaver got in position to screen the goalie. Gartner's shot went over the goalie's head and into the net under the crossbar.

Weaver's play early in the game got the Tigers rolling. The Tigers have not been fast starters, but Weaver put on tough defensive pressure in the opening minutes that prevented Rice Lake from getting any momentum going.

This is a big win for the Tigers, because Rice Lake beat New Richmond 6-1 last season.

The win against Hayward was sparked by three goals from Figueroa. The game was called 10 minutes before completion because of lightning that had moved into the area.

The loss at Cumberland was disheartening for the Tigers, because they put up good pressure throughout the game.

"We kept crashing the net, but opportunity after opportunity, we couldn't put it away," said Tiger coach Pete Melloy.

The Tigers will be back on the road this Thursday, playing at Barron. Their regular season wraps up with a pair of home games next week. Next Tuesday the Tigers will host Spooner. Two days later, the Tigers will get a visit from Osceola's boys.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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