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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When Prescott's best hitter went down with an ankle injury, the Somerset volleyball team took full advantage of the opportunity on Thursday. Somerset rolled to a 25-11, 25-16, 19-25, 25-13 win in a match between two teams considered among the pre-season favorites in the Middle Border Conference volleyball race. This was the first conference match for both teams. The match hinged on the injury to Prescott's leading hitter, senior Mary Kate Pryor. Prescott was leading 16-12 in the first game when Pryor tumbled to the floor with an ankle injury.
Starting the Middle Border Conference on a strong note was the goal of the New Richmond volleyball team, but the Tigers fell just short in their MBC opener at Durand last Thursday. New Richmond and Durand went to five games, but it was Durand that won the finale. The teams flip-flopped wins throughout the night. Durand won the first, third and fifth games by scores of 25-21, 25-18 and 15-11. The Tigers captured the second and fourth games, with 25-21 wins in both games. The Tigers finished the match with 31 kills. Caelin Giese, Brooke Ver Bunker and Anna McShane led the team.
The intensity level is definitely picking up as the area cross country teams head into the final weeks of their regular season. New Richmond and Somerset ran in the Osceola Invitational on Saturday. The Tigers, Spartans and St. Croix Central all competed in the Rice Lake Invitational last Tuesday. These are two large meets that test the nerve of runners and how willing they are to fight their way through packs of opponents. The Rice Lake Invitational is one of the biggest in western Wisconsin, with 30 teams competing in the race. This is one of the most tactical races of the season.
In the past week the Somerset boys soccer team proved it can play evenly with the best teams in the Middle Border Conference. Last Tuesday the Spartans put up a huge effort against MBC leader New Richmond. New Richmond had to hang on to score a 4-3 win over the Spartans. Barron is the second place team in the MBC, but the Spartans nearly took the Bears down a notch on Monday. Somerset took a 3-1 lead in the first half and the game carried into overtime. In the final seconds of the overtime, Barron got a penalty shot, and the shot managed to sneak into the upper corner of the goal.
This is a huge week for the New Richmond girls tennis team. Wins over Baldwin-Woodville on Tuesday and Amery on Thursday would give the Tigers their fifth straight Middle Border Conference championship. Tiger coach Denise Devereux used a quotation from tennis legend Billie Jean King to prepare for the week. Devereux used King's quote: "Pressure is a privilege" in getting the Tigers ready for the challenge in front of them. "It comes to those who earn it," Devereux said of the pressure that goes along with playing for a conference championship.
St. Croix Central coach Kerrie Been insists that the 2011 Panther team is filled with one of the nicest groups of girls she's ever coached. But once they get on the volleyball court, she'd like to see them be a little less nice. The Panthers played in six matches last week, but were able to win just one of the six matches. They lost their first two Dunn-St. Croix Conference matches of the season before winning one of their four matches in the Osceola Invitational on Saturday. Last Tuesday the Panthers lost their conference opener against Elk Mound by scores of 25-15, 25-20 and 25-19.
Somerset residents: the Somerset School District wants your opinions. To get them, the school district will be sending out an eight-page survey to all district residents during the first week in October. The school district has commissioned a survey to be done by School Perceptions LLC, a firm with expertise in conducting school surveys. All survey data gathered will be kept completely confidential. The Somerset Board of Education gave its final approval of the survey during a special board meeting on Sept. 12. Responses to the survey can be done two ways.
We're just two weeks into the Middle Border Conference football season and the New Richmond Tigers are already alone at the top of the MBC standings. The Tigers pulled off a stunner on Friday, manhandling previously unbeaten Prescott, 33-6. The Tigers are 2-0 in the MBC standings, but there's little breathing room with six teams poised at 1-1. The Tigers draw one of the toughest assignments in the conference this Friday. The Tigers will play at Somerset, where the Spartans are coming off their first homefield conference loss since they joined the MBC in 2002.
Inserting Tyler Ledbeter at quarterback and shifting Robbie Flom from quarterback to slotback delivered positive results for the Somerset football team in its first game with its new backfield alignment. The Spartans made those changes following their Sept. 9 loss to Prescott. With the new backfield, the Spartans were able to score a 22-6 win in Ellsworth last Friday. The tasks continue to get more difficult for the Spartans. This Friday the Spartans host Middle Border Conference leading New Richmond. A win would move the Spartans into a tie for the MBC lead.
The New Richmond girls cross country team found that anything less than its best leaves the Tigers in jeopardy of getting beaten this season. The Tigers ran well in last Thursday's Invitational, but not as well as Rice Lake. Rice Lake got all seven of its girls across the finish line before the Tigers got their fifth runner across. Rice Lake won the meet with 46 points, compared to 51 for the Tigers. Fourteen teams competed in the meet. New Richmond's boys took eighth place in their half of the meet. Four of New Richmond's girls placed among the top 11 runners in Thursday's race.