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Somerset soccer older and wiser, ready to be better

Somerset senior defender Mary Fohrenkamm boots the ball down the sideline in the second half of Monday's loss to Ashland.1 / 2
Somerset junior Bailey Johnston (11) battles an Ashland player for control of the ball during Monday's game.2 / 2

The Somerset girls soccer team wants to show that its ready to make significant improvements this season.

The Spartans got their season started Monday, facing a severe test in the process. The Spartans hosted the defending Division 2 sectional champion, Ashland. The Spartans lost 5-0, but coach Erin Wilson-Gehring said the team showed significant progress throughout the game.
Ashland held possession of the ball for much of the first half as the Spartans scrambled to find organization. The Oredockers built a 3-0 lead by halftime. Wilson-Gehring said the problems in the first half were due to positioning.“Everybody was trying to do everyone else's job,” she said. “We need to work on our communication so everyone stays in position.”
Ashland scored twice in the second half, with the goals scored less than a minute apart. Other than those two goals, the second half was played much more evenly.This year's Spartans are structured around a quartet of seniors who bring a great deal of experience to the team. Cassie Schmidt will be in her fourth season on the varsity and was an honorable mention All-MBC player last season. Mary Fohrenkamm and Rachel Helgeson will be in their third season as varsity players and Michaela Simon will be in her second season on the varsity squad.Liz Jacobson takes over as goalkeeper for the Spartans this season. She was the team's JV keeper last season, getting to play a handful of games on the varsity because of injuries.Wilson-Gehring had quite a young team on her hands last season. The first step with a young team was working to keep games close.
“Last year, we made great strides on the defense. We really focused a lot of our energy there,” she said. “Now we're hoping to work on our offense.”With the work done on defense last year, the Spartans have options on who to play at the different defensive positions. Wilson-Gehring said Helgeson and Fohrenkamm will be counted on heavily in the defensive zone, as will junior Becca Olin.With 12 players returning to the varsity and nine who saw consistent playing time, the Spartans are hoping to improve on their 2-5-1 finish in the Middle Border Conference a year ago.“There's a different feel than last year when everyone was learning everything,” Wilson-Gehring said. She said fans didn't get a good chance to see the gains made by the Spartans last year because the schedule was so abbreviated because of the weather.
The Spartans start their Middle Border Conference schedule this week. They play at home on Thursday at Baldwin-Woodville and Friday against Osceola. The Spartans' first road game of the season is scheduled for next Tuesday at Superior.
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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