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Somerset girls soccer knocks off two traditional MBC powers

Junior Lauren Sandy (9) swoops in to kick the ball downfield, ending an Amery charge into Somerset territory, in the first half of the Spartans’ 3-2 win over Amery last Thursday.

Hayward and Amery have traditionally been among the teams vying for the Middle Border Conference girls soccer championship every year.

So you can imagine the girls on the Somerset soccer team are flying pretty high after the Spartans scored wins over Hayward and Amery this week. The Spartans beat Hayward 1-0 on Monday, the first win for the Spartans against the Hayward in the five years Erin Wilson-Gehring has coached Somerset. That win came on the heels of a 3-2 comeback win by the Spartans against Amery last Thursday.

The two wins show how the Spartans are beginning to develop strong groups at both ends of the field. Team speed is an asset the team is beginning to use.

“As a whole, we have pretty good team speed and depth in speed,” Wilson-Gehring said.

She said that speed is helping the team make quick transitions from defense to offense, where they can use two or three passes to get the ball deep into the offensive end of the field.

Spartan goalkeeper Liz Jacobson earned her first career shutout in Monday’s win. After the Spartans took the lead with 25 minutes left in the game, Hayward was able to get two excellent scoring chances. Jacobson made the save on both, including a leaping save where she punched the ball to redirect a Hayward shot over the goalpost.

Somerset’s goal was the result of steady offensive pressure. The play started with a corner kick, with the teams scrambling to control the ball for the next 15 seconds. Somerset’s Alyssa Kelly finally corralled the ball along the baseline to the right of the goal. She rolled a pass to the front of the net, where Elsie Shartin-Folkert was in position to steer the ball into the net.

The Spartans certainly had their opportunities against Amery. The Spartans dominated time of possession in the first half and they had more quality scoring chances. But Amery took advantage of its two best chances.

The Warriors had the fastest player on the field in Kaylie Johnson. Amery was able to spring Johnson for two breakaway goals in the first half, but the Spartans adjusted their defense to make sure Johnson didn’t break free for more goals in the second half.

The Spartans had to fight back from a 2-0 deficit. The Spartans had scored early in the game, but it was disallowed on a close offsides call. It negated one of the prettier Spartan goals in some time, on a well-placed crossing pass to the front of the goal that was driven in on a header.

The first half goal for Somerset was scored by Bailey Johnston, who was extremely active in the offensive zone all through the game. The score came off another nice crossing pass. The first Spartan shot hit the crossbar, but Johnston smacked the rebound into the net.

The Spartans were able to tie the game on a goal from senior Cassie Schmidt. Amery was trying for scoring chances on breakaways, but now the Spartan defense was prepared and prevented Johnson from getting behind the defense.

The game-winning goal came on a nice piece of unselfish play. The Spartans took a corner kick, which Lauren Sandy controlled. She slid the ball across, from one side of the net to the other, where Johnston was able to one-time the ball into the net.

The Spartans showed good quickness and the offensive players have shown they are grasping the style of play Wilson-Gehring wants them to play.

The Spartans will look to add another MBC win on Thursday when they host Barron. The Spartans draw a tough non-conference opponent next Tuesday when they play at Rice Lake.

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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