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Offense erupts: New Richmond girls soccer posts pair of 5-0 MBC wins

New Richmond’s Chrissy Kletschka (10) boots the ball upfield during the first half of the Tigers’ loss to River Falls on Friday.

After scoring five total goals in the first seven games, the New Richmond girls soccer team found its offense.

The Tigers scored five goals last Tuesday in a Middle Border Conference win against Somerset. The Tigers matched that feat two days later, posting another 5-0 MBC win, this time against Amery.

The wins keep the Tigers in the thick of the conference title race. The Tigers are now 3-1-1 in conference action. Baldwin-Woodville started the week as the MBC leader with a 4-1 record.

The win at Somerset probably surprised the Tigers as much as anyone. The Tigers controlled the action and kept channeling the ball toward the Spartan net.

“We probably got off 35 shots,” said New Richmond coach Steve Tesar. “We were able to get past their defense and get the ball to the corners.”

Getting the ball to the corners is one of two approaches the Tigers are trying to use for their main scoring avenues. The others are breakaways. That produced the first of the Tiger goals on Tuesday, when Harley Leavens booted the ball forward to Tina Montpetit, who broke free for the goal.

The Tigers then began working the ball deep into the corners of the offensive zone. They used that position to send crossing passes to the front of the net. The Tigers cleaned up on those opportunities. Freshman Cassie Kletschka scored three of those goals for her first career hat trick. Chrissy Kletschka also scored her first varsity goal in this game.

The offensive fireworks continued against Amery. The Tigers quickly shut down Amery’s methods of scoring, allowing the Tigers to keep the ball in Amery’s end of the field for large portions of the game. Chrissy Kletschka scored the only goal of the first half, in the 33rd minute.

The Tigers broke the game open quickly in the second half. Leavens scored in the 42nd minute and Lexi Brown scored in the next minute. Cassie Kletschka scored in the 48th minute and Sydney Simpson scored in the 55th minute.

Tesar said the ability to control the ball deep in their opponent’s territory is critical in the Tigers’ offensive plan.

“Of the 10 goals, six were by that design,” Tesar said. “We spread out their defense and we’ve been able to get goals by crashing the net.”

Caty Brayll earned both shutouts in goal for the Tigers.

The momentum the Tigers built during those two wins was quickly whisked away by the River Falls Wildcats last Friday. The Cats are coached by former New Richmond coach Charles Conley and his teams have torn up the Tigers since Conley took over the Wildcats. That pattern continued when the Wildcats tore through the Tigers 6-0 on Friday.

The Tigers had a couple solid scoring chances in the first 10 minutes of the game. The Wildcats then found an inexperienced area in the Tiger defense and they attacked it unmercifully. The Wildcats scored their first goal in the 16th minute and another goal minutes later. By halftime, the Tigers were facing a 4-0 deficit.

The Tigers face a major test in their hopes of winning the MBC title this Friday. They travel to Superior, to face the two-time defending MBC champions. The Tigers will also be in action next Monday, making up a home game against Barron that was postponed last Monday. The Tigers will also play Tuesday, hosting Spooner.

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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