Somerset girls soccer avenges loss to Baldwin-Woodville
The girls on the Somerset soccer team are fast learners.
A week after being burned by four goals in the second half by Baldwin- Woodville, the Spartans got another shot to play the Blackhawks last Thursday. This time, the Spartans were ready for the speed of the Blackhawks’ best offensive player. And by shutting her off, the Spartans were able to shut down the Blackhawks in a 2-0 Somerset victory.
The win is the seventh of the season and it is also the seventh shutout the Spartans have recorded. This was just Baldwin- Woodville’s second loss of the year.
The success the Spartans saw on Thursday stemmed from a defensive alignment change made by the coaches. The coaches sought out their fastest defensive player, junior Hannah Meyer, and they moved her to the stopper position. Meyer effectively neutralized the B-W forward who scored three goals in the previous game.
Somerset coach Bill Roll said the versatility on the team gives the coaches the options of making changes like this, based on opponents’ strengths.
“We’ve got a lot of players who bring different skill sets,” Roll said.
The lineup changes also helped the Spartans focus on ball control, which they did quite well. Roll said the B-W defense was quick to block shot paths, so the Spartans concentrated on taking quicker shots in the second half. The Spartans finally broke through for the first goal at the 57:10 mark. Anna Rybacki was given a penalty kick in the goal box and she was able to successfully beat the B-W keeper.
The score remained a tense 1-0 until the final 90 seconds of the game. The Spartans had Rybacki, Anya Swanson and Brycen Chladek all battling for the ball in a scrum in front of the B-W net. Rybacki was able to get a toe on the ball, sending it squirting into the corner of the net.
The Spartans were on the road last Tuesday, facing Middle Border Conference co-leader Hayward. This was a tough game, but the Spartans fell victim to Hayward’s dedication to defense, losing 2-0.
To that point, Hayward had only allowed six goals all season in its 10 games, with eight of them ending in shutouts. Hayward had one offensive player and the Hurricanes were able to break her free for two goals.
The Spartans resume their schedule on Thursday at New Richmond. They will also be on the road next Tuesday at Amery. The seeding for the WIAA Division 3 tournament bracket will be done on Sunday. Roll said there’s a good chance the Spartans will be the fourth or fifth seed in the regional tournament bracket.