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Somerset soccer will host Osceola Thursday in regular season finale

Somerset goalkeeper Taylor Sporleder (1) leaps to grab the ball with several New Richmond players swarming around her during last Thursday’s battle.

The 2017 season will be marked as one where the Somerset girls soccer team became a vastly improved defensive team.

Through 15 games this season the Spartans have allowed 22 goals and 12 of those came in two games.

Last week the Spartans record their eighth shutout of the season in a 2-0 nonconference win at Washburn. That was followed by a 6-0 loss at New Richmond on Thursday.

The win last Monday showed the Spartans can handle a long road trip and still play well. The first half was scoreless, but it was a solid effort. In the second half the Spartans were able to spring Anna Rybacki free for a goal early in the second half. Midway through the half, Anya Swanson won a race to the ball, chipping it past the Washburn keeper for the goal.

The win was Somerset’s eighth shutout. Goalkeeper Taylor Sporleder made three saves and stopped a penalty kick.

The Spartans were hoping to make a better showing in Thursday’s game at New Richmond. Somerset coach Bill Roll said he felt the Spartans didn’t play badly in the first half, which ended 2-0. He said individual breakdowns on defense led to those two goals. The Spartans also had several solid scoring chances in the first half, but weren’t able to capitalize.

“When we got possession in the attacking third, we held it down there pretty well,” Roll said.

The turning point in the game came early in the second half. The Spartans tried some changes in hopes of finding some scoring. But it led to some cracks in the defense and New Richmond scored twice in the first 12 minutes of the half to put the game out of reach.

Roll said that both of last week’s games showed that the Spartans need to play better in rainy conditions. He said Thursday’s game also showed the Spartans need to be ready for teams that play at a faster pace.

“We had some good opportunities, we’ve just got to play quicker. To see the early chances wasted was frustrating,” Roll said.

The Spartans will complete their regular season this Thursday with a home game against Osceola.

Seeding for the WIAA Division 3 regional bracket was done Sunday. Somerset came out of the meeting with the fourth seed. This means Somerset will host Baldwin-Woodville in the first round of regional play at 5 p.m. Thursday, June 1.

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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