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Tiger girls soccer wins opener

New Richmond's girls soccer team finally got to play its 2008 season opener on Tuesday.

The Tigers made it a successful debut, beating Osceola 2-1.

Senior forward Brianna Richter scored twice in the first period for the Tigers. Osceola scored its goal late in the second half.

Richter leads a strong group of returning players for the Tigers. She is one of four returning all-Middle Border Conference players for the Tigers. Lea LeMire, Tasia Kelley and Danica Alvarez are also returning first team all-MBC selections.

The Tigers are constructed with a defense-first attitude. Coach Charles Conley ranked the top strength of his team as the group of four defenders that includes Kelley, Kelly Grandt, Courtney Jenderny and Ariel Berres-Green. Conley said Josie Wold could move into that group of defenders, with Jenderny a possibility to move up to play forward.

One of the changes with the team this season is the shift of senior Maddie Frank from defense to midfield. Conley is looking for a strong two-way player who can create scoring chances for the forwards to fill this position. He said he thinks Frank has the skills to grow into that position.

Alvarez returns to the other midfield position for the Tigers.

Richter is the proven scorer among the forwards. The Tigers will be looking for more players who can contribute to the scoring. Among those who'll see considerable time at forward are Laura Troftgruben, Shelby Brown, Jade Klemmenson, Anna Zietlow and Anna Junko.

Richter scored about 10 minutes into the game. She took a long lead pass from Meghan Frank, deked around one Osceola defender, then dodged the Osceola goalie who came out to try to play the ball.

Richter scored again minutes later on a penalty kick. She was going in on a good scoring chance when she was taken down from behind, resulting in the penalty shot.

Osceola got its goal late in the game by winning a race to the ball in the corner. The Chieftains were able to get a centering pass to an open player in front of the net for the goal.

Conley said the Osceola goal came because the Tigers were getting tired at the end of the game. Conley said the team will focus on conditioning once they can begin practicing outdoors on a regular basis. He said he was hesitant to have the girls do a great deal of running in the halls of the high school, because he didn't want to trigger any leg injuries from running on the unforgiving surface.

Weather continues to foil the Tigers' attempts to get some momentum started. Their game Saturday at Eau Claire North was postponed because of last week's storm.

Monday at Hudson

The Tigers keep trying to show they are just as good as the bigger schools they face, but they are still struggling to get wins against those bigger schools.

The Tigers were hoping to get a win when they played at Hudson on Monday, but they came away with a 3-1 defeat.

Conley told the girls they would have to play within their system and play well defensively to stay with the quicker Hudson team. That burned the Tigers early in the game. A Hudson player sped past two Tiger defenders to score five minutes into the game.

The Tigers tied the score 20 minutes into the game on the first varsity goal by freshman Laura Troftgruben. She drew the Hudson goalie out from the net and popped a shot over the goalie's head and into the far corner of the net.

Hudson took a 2-1 lead with five minutes left in the first half. The Raiders scored their third goal midway through the second half. The Tigers played much of the second half without several players who had to leave for the National Honor Society banquet. The Tigers played much of the game without defender Tasia Kelley, who sprained an ankle early in the first half.

Next on schedule

This week the Tigers are scheduled to play at home on Thursday against Spooner. On Monday the Tigers will play at Baldwin-Woodville, followed by a home game against Superior next Tuesday.

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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