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 schedule maker for the Middle Border Conference laid out three straight critical games for the New Richmond boys soccer team this week in the Tigers' hopes of winning the 2012 conference title. The Tigers handled the first of those three assignments like...tigers. They pounced on Somerset from the opening kick and devoured the Spartans in the first half. New Richmond concentrated on defense in the second half in winning 3-0. The second of the MBC assignments for the Tigers was scheduled for Tuesday at Amery.
Last Thursday's overtime win against Middle Border Conference leader Amery should go down as the most significant win in the short history of the Somerset boys soccer program. But when the Spartans tried to follow up with another peak performance on Monday, they couldn't do it. The Spartans played a stagnant first half in a 3-0 loss at New Richmond that ended Somerset's slim hopes of winning an MBC title this season. Somerset's first half performance on Monday was shocking because it was such a vast departure from the team's play against Amery.
The final score of last Friday's Somerset-New Richmond football game might not have been reflected in the reactions of the teams following the game. Somerset won the game 28-7, raising the Spartans season record to 4-0. Despite the win, the Spartans were quiet and subdued over their performance. The Tigers dropped to 0-4 for the season, but the Tigers were markedly upbeat over what was perceived by the team as its strongest showing of the season. By Somerset's standards, the Spartans did not play their sharpest game.
Another one-stroke win over Osceola has the New Richmond girls golf team on the verge of winning the Middle Border Conference title. The Tigers carry a six-point lead into this Wednesday's MBC 18-hole tournament, which will be played at the New Richmond Golf Club. The Tigers have only lost once in MBC action this season, to Osceola on the Chieftains' home turf. New Richmond earned a narrow win on Monday, shooting a 179 to beat Osceola by one stroke at NRGC. New Richmond was able to win on Monday by getting four players to score in the 40s.
When the offense gets on a roll, the New Richmond boys soccer team can be downright overwhelming. The Tigers showed that twice last week. On Tuesday the Tigers rolled past Osceola 9-1. The Tigers were even more crisp last Thursday, scoring nine times in the first half in a 10-0 win over Hayward. These games completed a stretch of six games in eight days for the Tigers, so once the Tigers established significant leads, the coaches relied on reserve players for most of the rest of the game. Sophomore Luke Landaal proved to be the offensive spark for the Tigers at Osceola.
It became apparent early in the Middle Border Conference girls tennis season that last Thursday's match between New Richmond and Baldwin-Woodville would decide the likely champion of the MBC dual meet season. New Richmond's girls were hoping to add a sixth straight MBC dual meet title to their trophy case this year, but those hopes were extinguished when B-W scored a 6-1 on the Blackhawks' courts. The Tigers were scheduled to complete their dual meet schedule this week with matches against Amery on Tuesday and at Durand on Thursday.
Saturday's Osceola Cross Country Invitational brought out the best in the New Richmond runners. The Tiger girls enjoyed running the 4K distance of their race on Saturday, with many of them setting personal record times. The Tiger boys found that they can be competitive with most of the top teams in the area, even when their two lead runners are sidelined for the meet. New Richmond's girls placed third in the meet, behind Mahtomedi, Minn., and Rice Lake.
If you like drama-packed volleyball matches, the clash between Somerset and Ellsworth at the SHS gym was perfect for you. All four games were close and came down to dramatic finishes. Somerset was able to pull out three of the four wins to start 1-0 in the 2012 Middle Border Conference standings. The crowd got an early indication of the dramatic nature of the match in the first game. Ellsworth held a small lead for much of the game, but Somerset began making its charge when the scores hit 20. Somerset fans yelled "game point" time after time.
Oshkosh is known for having Wisconsin's greatest air show, the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. If St. Croix Central's football team keeps throwing the ball with the success it did on Friday, Oshkosh may soon get second billing. The Panthers threw the ball for 383 yards on Friday as they bombarded Mondovi 40-16. The win lifts Central into second place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with a 2-1 record. The Panthers will try to add to their win total this Friday when they host Boyceville at 7 p.m.
By winning decisively in their recent games, the Somerset boys soccer team is getting a chance to get more players involved in the team's offense. Last week the Spartans rolled to a pair of wins, beating Hayward 10-1 on Tuesday and winning at Baldwin-Woodville 7-2 on Thursday. While the team's leading scorers each had a showcase game last week, it was equally important to see how more players are getting into the scoring act. In the last two weeks, five different Spartans scored their first varsity goals. Josh Lee, Beau Harris, Thomas Bauer, J.T.