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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The two losses suffered by the St. Croix Central volleyball team showed how different a team can play in coming out on the losing end of matches. The Panthers lost Dunn-St. Croix Conference matches to Pepin and Plum City. While last Tuesday's loss to Pepin was viewed as an abject failure by the Panthers, there were many positives to their performance in their loss at Plum City last Thursday. The Panthers lost at Plum City on Thursday 25-20, 25-7, 25-23. The Panthers were active and intent on atoning for their play on Tuesday. They did so.
Spirited special teams and a defense that had all the answers led the New Richmond football team to a 26-7 win over Ellsworth last Friday. Ellsworth came into the game as one of the intriguing teams in the Middle Border Conference. The Panthers were fresh off a 28-22 win over Baldwin-Woodville, a win that made people take notice that Ellsworth has a legitimate chance to be a WIAA playoff team this year and possibly even a contender for the MBC title.
The New Richmond girls tennis team has earned its fifth straight Middle Border Conference championship, but this will be the first of those five titles that the Tigers have had to share. The Tigers locked up their share of the 2011 MBC championship by earning a 6-1 win at Amery on Thursday.
The New Richmond boys soccer team has completed a sweep of its regular season Middle Border Conference games. The Tigers now move into the MBC tournament. By virtue of finishing with the top record in the MBC regular season, the Tigers will be the top seed in the conference tournament. Their first game will be at home on Friday, when they face the winner of Thursday's play-in game between Somerset and Spooner. The Tigers completed their perfect MBC regular season by winning at Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday, 2-0.
Somerset's varsity offense was unstoppable when the Spartan football team played at Amery last Friday. The varsity offense got to play for six possessions in the game. They scored on all six chances, resulting in a 48-0 win over the Warriors. The win keeps the Spartans in a tie for the Middle Border Conference lead. They currently hold a 3-1 record, as does New Richmond and Durand. The Spartans have a chance to lock up a place in the 2011 WIAA state playoffs with a win this Friday. The assignment for the Spartans will be to win in Baldwin-Woodville on Friday.
With a place in the WIAA football playoffs already locked up, the St. Croix Central football team can now concentrate on trying to win the Dunn-St. Croix Conference championship. The Panthers improved to 4-0 in the D-SC on Friday by defeating defending conference champion Mondovi, 20-0. The Panthers have not lost in six games this season. The toughest third of the Panthers' regular season is coming up. All three of the Panthers' remaining opponents could end up in the WIAA playoffs. The Panthers' two remaining conference opponents are Boyceville (this Friday) and Spring Valley (Oct. 13).
When the Somerset soccer team is up, it is way up. When the Spartans are down, they can be way down too. The Spartans showed the two ends of their ability spectrum in their two most recent games. On Monday the Spartans were at the top of their game. They were clearly the better team on their home field, beating Hayward 4-2.
Competing in the Roy Griak Invitational is almost like a rite of passage for high school cross country runners. New Richmond, Somerset and St. Croix Central all had their teams run in the annual Griak meet, held at the Les Bolstad Golf Course at the University of Minnesota on Saturday. The meet is an incredible day of running. The day begins with six collegiate races, featuring some of the top programs all over the nation.
The Somerset volleyball team's hopes of a Middle Border Conference championship took a big hit by losing to Ellsworth last week. This Thursday, the Spartans have a chance to get back into a share for the MBC lead. The Spartans will play at Baldwin-Woodville. The Blackhawks are the surprise team of the MBC thus far, winning their first four conference matches. Somerset started this week with a 2-1 conference record. Somerset will play its third and final home match of the season next Tuesday, against Durand. The Spartans split their conference matches last week.
Unforced errors shot down any chance the New Richmond volleyball team had against two of the top teams in the Middle Border Conference last week. The Tigers lost in four games in their matches against Prescott last Tuesday and Somerset last Thursday. The performances by the Tigers in both matches were quite similar. The Tigers were tentative in the first two games, resulting in one-sided losses.