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Somerset soccer team keeps expanding its offense

Somerset senior Jeremy Bucklew (in white) carries the ball past an Osceola defender during last Thursday's 7-0 Spartan win.

With Jon Bucklew, the top scorer in Wisconsin boys high school soccer this fall, leading the way, the Somerset boys soccer team continues to pile up big numbers.

The Spartans sewed up third place in the Middle Border Conference standings with wins over Spooner and Osceola last week. The Spartans finish the regular season with a 13-6-2 record and a 12-3-1 record within the conference. The Spartans were 7-1 in the second half of their MBC schedule, with their only setback being a 3-0 loss at New Richmond.

The Spartans began last week with an 8-0 homefield win over Spooner. It was followed by a 7-0 win over Osceola.

Blazing Bucklew

Bucklew rose to the top of the state soccer scorers last week, reaching the 100-point milestone during last Tuesday's win over Spooner.

Last year, Bucklew ranked 12th in the state in scoring as a sophomore, totaling 75 points.

Bucklew obliterated the opposition last week. He scored five times and assisted on another goal in the win over Spooner. Bucklew scored five more goals in the win over Osceola. He ended the week with 46 goals and 18 assists, to total 110 points this season. His goal total is the top in the state, but his assist total also ranks among the top five in the state.

"Jon is a creator," said Somerset coach Bill Roll. "He creates opportunities, but he also creates opportunities for the other guys. We're fortunate that we have other guys who can score."

Roll said people might not recognize how strong Bucklew is because he isn't a large person. Bucklew's hard work at improving his strength has augmented his exceptional quickness.

"He's one of the best players I've seen at fighting through challenges and keeping control of the ball," Roll said.

While Bucklew has been the leader, the entire Spartan team has seen its offensive efficiency grow this year. One of the areas where the team has made drastic improvements is in its ball movement. The defenders and midfielders have developed their passing skills, which has been parlayed into many more chances at the offensive end of the field.

"Our ball movement the last few games has been good, probably the whole second half of the season," Roll said.

The Spartan offense continues to diversify. Against Spooner, J.T. Karis finished with two goals and two assists. This was the first multi-goal game of his varsity career.

Bucklew isn't the only top scorer on the Spartan squad. Junior forward Gavin Meader also ranks among the top 20 scorers in the state. Meader and Bucklew worked exceptionally well together against Osceola. Meader finished that game with one goal and four assists, with three of his assists coming on goals scored by Bucklew.

The Spartans began WIAA Division 2 regional tournament play on Tuesday with a game against Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans drew the third seed in the regional tournament bracket. The winner of Tuesday's game will be back in action on Thursday, facing the winner of Tuesday's game between Ashland (2) and Osceola (7). If Ashland was the winner in Tuesday's game, the Oredockers will host Thursday's regional final.

The winner of Thursday's game will qualify for the WIAA sectional semifinals, which will be played on Thursday, Oct. 18.