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One-sided wins help Somerset soccer team develop depth

Somerset's J.T. Karis fires a shot toward the Hayward goal during last Tuesday's Spartan victory.1 / 2
Somerset's Jon Bucklew (3) races past a Hayward defender on his way to a first half goal during last Tuesday's Spartan victory.2 / 2

By winning decisively in their recent games, the Somerset boys soccer team is getting a chance to get more players involved in the team's offense.

Last week the Spartans rolled to a pair of wins, beating Hayward 10-1 on Tuesday and winning at Baldwin-Woodville 7-2 on Thursday. While the team's leading scorers each had a showcase game last week, it was equally important to see how more players are getting into the scoring act.

In the last two weeks, five different Spartans scored their first varsity goals. Josh Lee, Beau Harris, Thomas Bauer, J.T. Karis and Sean Wells all were able to net their first varsity goals during that stretch. Spartan coach Bill Roll said that scoring is important in how other teams will defend the Spartans.

"One of the things we've been lacking is diversification in our goal scoring," Roll said. "A lot of the guys are starting to contribute."

In the win over Hayward, Somerset leading scorer Jon Bucklew was unstoppable. Hayward didn't have any defender who could match Bucklew's speed and he was able to make free runs toward the goal whenever he wanted. Bucklew scored five goals while playing approximately half the game.

This was a big game for Karis. In addition to scoring his first varsity goal, he assisted on four other goals. His passing in the midfield played a big part in springing Bucklew free for his runs at the Hayward goal.

The Somerset offense kept the ball in Hayward's end of the field nearly the entire game. The best reflection of that fact is the 57 shots that Somerset took during the game.

The Spartans took charge of Tuesday's game by scoring five times in the first half. They did the exact same thing on Thursday, building a 5-0 lead by halftime at Baldwin-Woodville. The Blackhawks concentrated their defensive efforts on stopping Bucklew. He scored the opening goal 1:47 into the game. He then recognized the Blackhawk's defensive approach and he worked the ball out to his teammates on the outer edges of the field.

Junior Gavin Meader stepped up to take on the role as the Spartans' main scorer. Meader knocked in four goals. Incredibly, he did that with just six shots on goal.

Roll was not pleased with the Spartans' defensive effort in the second half at B-W. The Blackhawks were able to score twice and Somerset goalie Aaron Joppru had to make several saves in the second half to stop the Hawks from getting any closer.

"We had a couple defensive lapses in the second half," Roll said. "We have to play at a higher level the whole game."

That is especially true now, because the Spartans face the three teams above them in the Middle Border Conference standings during the next week. That starts Thursday, when the Spartans host MBC leader Amery. On Monday the Spartans play at second place New Richmond. Third place Barron visits the Spartans 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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