New Richmond girls soccer hosts WIAA sectional semifinal game Thursday
The first keep arriving for the New Richmond girls soccer team and the Tigers hope to add several more firsts this week.
The Tigers will play in their first-ever WIAA sectional game this Thursday when they host River Falls at 4:30 p.m. in the WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal game. The winner of Thursday's game will play in the WIAA sectional championship game, which will be played at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Marshfield. The opponent in the sectional final will be the winner of Thursday's sectional semifinal game between Green Bay Southwest and Pulaski.
New Richmond's girls earned the first regional championship in team history last Saturday when they defeated Holmen, 3-1, at the New Richmond High School soccer field.
Before facing Holmen, the Tigers defeated Menomonie 7-0 last Thursday in the opening round of Division 2 tournament action. The win was the first in the playoffs in more than a decade for the Tigers. The program's last playoff win came in 200, when the Tigers defeated Spooner 4-3 in overtime.
With the two playoff wins, the Tigers' season record stands at 17-0-1. It is the most wins in team history, among a plethora of feats the team has already accomplished.
Getting to face River Falls in the sectional tournament adds another layer to a steamy rivalry between the Tigers and Wildcats. River Falls is coached by former Tiger coach Charles Conley. The Tigers beat River Falls for the first time when they beat the Wildcats 3-2 on May 22.
The playoffs began with a good test against Menomonie. The Mustangs were battling the Tigers with great energy in the first half, resulting in the Tigers only able to build a 2-0 lead by halftime. In the second half, the Tigers’ superior depth paid off and they quickly expanded the lead.
Seven different Tigers scored in the win. Megan Schleicher recorded her first varsity goal. Also scoring were Alli Preece, Amanda Johnson, Amelia Feuerer, Lexi Brown, Reese Jacobson and Maya Greenquist.
In last year’s playoffs, the Tigers lost in overtime in the opening round at Holmen. So a little payback was on the menu Saturday. The teams traded early goals, but the Tigers were able to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. They added the only goal of the second half.
Tiger coach Tracey Boyle said the win felt closer than 3-1 because of the playoff intensity at which both teams were playing.
Brown, Feuerer and Anna Hop scored for the Tigers in Saturday’s win.
Boyle said the playoff success is a continuation of the girls’ team-first attitude.
“It shows the team dynamic and how humble they are,” Boyle said. She credited her captains for always having the team’s attitude where it needs to be.
“When we need to be intense in practice, they know it,” Boyle said of the captains. “Practice is where we learn to win games.”
The Tigers finished the regular season last Tuesday with a 6-1 win at Amery. Boyle said this was a good game to get the Tigers building toward the playoffs because they hadn’t played in more than a week. Jacobson scored twice at Amery, with Brown, Hop and Sierra Mondry scoring once.