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Undefeated New Richmond soccer team continues to roll

New Richmond senior Brad Brusewitz (5) leads a charge upfield during last week’s win over Osceola.

When the unbeaten New Richmond boys soccer team needed an offensive jolt this week, the Tigers had players who stepped to the forefront to take the lead.

On Saturday the Tigers were tied with Superior 1-1 at halftime. Senior Casey Turnipseed was moved to forward and he provided instant results, scoring three straight goals to start the second half as the Tigers dominated the second half, winning 6-1.

Last Tuesday the Tigers weren’t sharp in the first half against Osceola, leading 2-0. Junior Luke Landaal picked up the offensive pace, scoring four times as the Tigers defeated the Chieftains.

Tiger coach Pete Melloy said the team’s 12-0-2 record is the result of strong team chemistry and players who are versed at a number of positions.

“We’ve got good senior leadership and a good core of younger kids,” Melloy said.

The Tigers will face their biggest test of the season over the next four games, which will decide which team wins the Middle Border Conference championship. The Tigers began the week leading the MBC with an 8-0-2 record, but Amery and Somerset are virtually even with the Tigers. The upturn in the schedule starts Thursday when the Tigers host Cumberland, a team that tied Amery last week.

On Monday the Tigers play at Somerset, before hosting Amery on Tuesday. The tough stretch of MBC games is completed next Tuesday, Oct. 3, when the Tigers host Barron, a team with the firepower to upset any of the conference leaders.

The Tigers showed last week they aren’t lacking in firepower. Landaal scored four goals against Osceola last Tuesday. He’s moved into third place among goal scorers in the conference this season. Josh Geigle and Brad Brusewitz both scored twice against Osceola, with Turnipseed and Mitch Giannini each scoring once.

There were some new scoring sources when the Tigers won at Hayward last Thursday, 7-0. This game was in the Tigers’ control right away, with Geigle and Nathan Feiner both scoring in the seventh minute of action.

It was the first of two goals for Feiner, his first two goals of the season. Michael Skoyen also scored his first varsity goal for the Tigers. Landaal scored twice at Hayward and Sam Hagen scored once.

The Tigers have shown exceptional diversity in their offensive attack this season. Most teams seem to have one or two players who do the bulk of their scoring. The Tigers have had 17 players score at least one goal in their 14 games this season.

In the game at Hayward the Tigers tried to get goalkeeper Rocco Ficociello a chance to score, but the move backfired. Ficociello played forward for the second half of the game. In the final 30 seconds of the game he sprained his ankle and he wasn’t able to play at Superior on Saturday.

That’s where the Tigers’ versatility was magnified. Brusewitz moved back from the sweeper position to play keeper on Saturday. That move is made at a cost however.

“That takes out the heart of our defense,” Melloy said.

Superior got the Tigers’ attention by scoring 6:34 into the game.

“We didn’t respect them enough,” Melloy said.

The Tigers made sure Superior didn’t get many good scoring chances in the rest of the game. Giannini scored the Tigers’ only goal of the first half. Turnipseed moved from defense to forward in the second half and that quickly changed the game.

“He was just too fast for them and too physical,” Melloy said.

After Turnipseed’s three goals built the Tigers’ lead to 4-1, Carter Hagen and Landaal scored in the final 10 minutes of the game.

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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