Girls Soccer: Somerset starts playoffs in good place
With no losses in the last seven games, the Somerset girls soccer team is in a good place heading into the WIAA playoffs.
The Spartans open action this Thursday in the WIAA Division 3 regional bracket with a home game against Barron at 4:30 p.m. The Spartans take a 12-4-2 regular season record into the playoffs.
Somerset is the fourth seed and Barron is the fifth seed although Barron beat the Spartans, 3-2, earlier in the season. Somerset coach Bill Roll said the Spartans received the higher seed in the voting based on their overall record. Barron has six wins on the season.
Roll was quick to remind his team that there is nothing guaranteed about the playoff game, because Somerset and Barron have met twice this season and Somerset has not yet won. Barron won the opener, and the teams met again last Thursday, a 1-1 tie. In Thursday's game, Barron had a defensive plan set up to give Somerset leading scorer Anna Rybacki extra attention, and Roll said he expects to see another version of that defensive approach for the playoff game.
The winner of Thursday's game will play again on Saturday, likely at top-seeded Amery. Roll is clearly of the belief that Somerset can give Ashland a battle.
"The top five seeds in the (regional) bracket are all really solid," Roll said.
Last Thursday's game was scoreless through the first half. Barron scored first, freeing up its fastest forward for a breakaway. Roll said the Spartans have excellent speed on defense, but the defensive girls still need to recognize that they need to give a cushion so fast forwards can't get past them.
That lead didn't last long, with Rybacki getting free for the tying goal. The Spartans did have several good chances to get a winning goal, including a shot by Rybacki in the final three minutes that clanged squarely off the crossbar.
Earlier in the week, the Spartans defeated a pair of Middle Border Conference opponents. The week of road games started with an 8-2 win at Amery on Monday. On Tuesday, the Spartans won 4-0 at Baldwin-Woodville. Freshman Taylor Paulson scored two of the Spartans goals at B-W, with Rybacki and Bailey Landry each scoring once. The win against Amery was led by two goal performances from Brooke Mitchell and Satin Mull. Getting that impact from two freshmen, plus from Paulson on Tuesday, gave Roll reason to be pleased about how the younger players on the team are stepping up to take on more responsible roles with the team late in the season.
Rybacki also scored three goals in that win, with Hannah Waskosky scoring once.