The Somerset boys soccer team is learning on the fly with an extremely young team.
The Spartans were able to win one of their four games in the opening week of the season, topping Arcadia 3-1 in the Somerset quad meet on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Somerset's season opened last Tuesday with a 3-0 loss at Menomonie. That was followed by a non-conference 3-0 loss at Hayward on Thursday. Somerset got its win in the opening round of Saturday's quad, before losing 4-1 in the second round against Medford.
The Somerset coaches are trying to find the best players for each position and they made a number of changes to the lineup for Saturday's meet. After a scoreless first half against Arcadia, the Spartans began seeing offensive results. Erik Osorio scored the first Somerset goal, making a good run after receiving a through ball from Elliott Olin.
The lead grew to 2-0 when Olin took a direct free kick from 25 yards out. The kick had topspin and dropped under the hands of the Arcadia keeper as he went for the deflection. Arcadia then took advantage of a Spartan defensive lapse to cut the margin to 2-1.
Senior James Clute stretched Somerset's lead back to two goals. Somerset coach Bill Roll described it as a "one-time side ball, waist high. It was perfect contact and he put it in the net."
The Spartans had several players sit out parts of the second game due to minor injuries. For a team with such inexperience, this meant even less experienced players stepped in. Medford took advantage of some early breakdowns to build a 2-0 lead by half. Somerset cut the margin to 2-1 when Logan Eder scored the first goal of the second half. Medford scored twice in the final 12 minutes of the game.
Roll said the team showed substantial improvement Saturday, just as it had on Thursday, compared to Tuesday's opening effort. Hayward was able to score all its goals on breakaways as the Spartans continued to deal with lapses in the defensive end.
The first two goals at Menomonie were similar in nature. The final Menomonie goal was one of the most flukey goals seen in the area in some time. A Somerset defender kicked the ball. It struck the shinguard of a Menomonie player with such force, it deflected 40 yards backward and into the upper corner of the Spartan goal.
Roll said the Spartans can't continue to give up as many scoring chances to their opponents. In the first four games, Somerset goalkeeper Brennan Sheridan made 104 saves, many on one-on-one breakaways.
The Spartans will be back in action Thursday, playing a 7 p.m. game at Osceola. The Spartans will also be on the road next Tuesday, playing at Amery.