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New Richmond girls soccer keeps scoring and climbing standings

New Richmond's Harley Leavens (11) pulls away from an Osceola defender during last week's Tiger victory.1 / 2
New Richmond’s Gaby Cruz (8) leaps over the tackle attempt of an Osceola player and continues her run upfield during Monday’s 6-0 Tiger victory. 2 / 2

With its third straight game of scoring at least five goals, the New Richmond girls soccer team continues to climb toward the top of the Middle Border Conference standings.

How the Tigers fare in the upcoming days will determine if they can get all the way to the top of the MBC standings.

The Tigers are now 7-1-1 in MBC games after putting together a relentless effort that beat Osceola on Monday, 6-0. The Tigers face their two main opponents for the MBC title in the upcoming days. The Tigers host MBC leader Baldwin-Woodville (8-1) this Thursday. The Tigers will also be at home next Tuesday, facing two-time defending MBC champion Superior (5-0). In between, the Tigers will face one of their stoutest non-conference assignments of the season, hosting Hudson this Friday.

The Tigers are on one of the biggest offensive rolls in team history. They have won their last six conference games, outscoring their opponents 29-1 in those six games.

Coach Steve Tesar said the team is seeing this level of success because it is an unselfish group of players. The girls have excelled at making quick, smart passes that force defenses to be constantly adjusting.

The Tigers got ahead of Osceola quickly and maintained the pressure throughout the game. Cassie Kletschka scored the first goal at the 4:49 mark. Sydney Simpson sent a lead pass ahead that sprung Kletschka for a breakaway.

Reese Jacobson got the second goal a few minutes later. Off a corner kick, Jacobson maintained her position at the far post. The ball came to the near post, which drew the defense away from Jacobson. She received a pass across the front of the goal, one-timing the ball out of the air and into the goal.

Senior Tina Montpetit then scored two goals. The first goal showed off Montpetit’s power. She got the ball at the 18-yard mark and was challenged by the Osceola keeper. Montpetit ripped a low shot that went through the keeper’s hands, between her legs and into the goal.

The second of Montpetit’s goals was a prime example of the team’s unselfish play. Gaby Cruz had a decent opportunity for a shot from 15 yards out. Instead, she noticed Montpetit cutting toward the goal. Cruz slid a pass ahead, which Montpetit was able to easily redirect into the goal.

The Tigers added two goals in the second half. Kletscha was trying a pass to the far post on the first goal, but her passed curled into the upper corner of the goal to make the score 5-0.

At the 60-minute mark, Tesar pulled goalie Caty Brayall and let her play forward. Minutes later, Brayall was able to redirect a pass from Lexi Brown past the Osceola keeper for Brayall’s first varsity goal.

Because of rescheduling, the Tigers ended up playing Spooner in back-to-back games last week. Though both were one-sided wins for the Tigers, the games were much sharper in the 5-0 win at Spooner last Friday, a location that traditionally has been a nightmare for the Tigers.

The Tigers started the game strong and never let up, scoring three times in the first 13:11 of the game.

The first Tiger goal was scored by Sydney Simpson. She intercepted a pass at the left edge of the Spooner goalie box. She rifled a shot that went into the goal, just inside the far post.

The Tigers scored again two minutes later, on the first of three goals by senior Tina Montpetit. The play started with two sharp passes between Tiger midfielders. The second pass led to a pass to Cassie Kletschka in the corner. Kletschka sent a crossing pass to Montpetit in front of the net and she buried the shot.

The third goal featured another sequence of crisp passing. The fourth of the passes went to Kletschka, who sent another pass to the front of the net. Her sister, Crissy, was left open at the far post and she headed the ball into the net for the third goal.

Montpetit scored her second goal in the 37th minute of the first half. She received a pass at the front of the net from Simpson, where Montpetit used her body to shield the ball from the Spooner keeper. Montpetit then did a 180-degree spin, smacking a shot past the goalie.

Montpetit completed her hat trick 10 minutes into the second half. She received a cross from Cassie Kletschka and blasted a shot into the net.

The Tigers were in such control in this game that they did not allow Spooner to put a shot on goal. Tiger keeper Caty Brayall earned her sixth shutout of the season.

The Tigers used a strong start to put away Spooner last Tuesday, though the Tigers had to survive a lull in the middle of the game.

The Tigers built a 3-0 lead in the first 15 minutes of the game. The first goal was scored 2:49 into the action, when Sydney Simpson’s shot glanced off the hands of the Spooner keeper into the net.

The second goal came 10 minutes later, with junior defender Morgan Graham netting her first varsity goal. Spooner’s keeper sent a goal kick 35 yards downfield, where Graham got immediate control of the ball. Graham ripped the ball back toward the Spooner goal, hoping a teammate would be able to get a close-range shot. Instead, the Spooner keeper couldn’t get back across from where she’d made the kick and Graham’s pass sailed into the Spooner goal.

The third goal of the opening salvo was the result of another Tiger getting her first varsity goal. Junior Lizzy McKinney was stationed near the goal line. Senior Bethany Haag fired a pass to McKinney and McKinney redirected the pass into the net for the goal.

Spooner scored on a penalty kick in the 33rd minute of the game and the Rails carried the momentum for much of the next stretch of the game. It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes that the Tigers reasserted themselves. The Tigers scored twice in the final 10 minutes, on similar plays. In each case, a New Richmond player stole the ball from a Spooner defensive player, before firing a shot that tucked into the net, just inside the far post. The first of the goals was produced by Lexi Brown, and the second was Simpson’s second goal 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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