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 first two losses of the season shook the confidence of the New Richmond boys soccer team. In games at Cumberland and Menomonie late last week, the Tigers gradually got their confidence back. The Tigers started the season with a 6-0 record. They then took their first two losses of the season, against Hastings and Amery. They came back with wins at Cumberland and Menomonie. When the Tigers went to Cumberland last Thursday, their confidence was at a crossroads.
A disinfectant was needed to clean a virus out of the St. Croix Central football locker room that made several of the Panthers ill during the week. A harsh scolding at halftime by the Central coaches served as a disinfectant after a sickly first half of play by the Panthers on Friday. The message got through as the Panthers buried Elk Mound under a 32-point avalanche in the third quarter, resulting in a 38-3 win for Central. The Panthers now hold a 4-0 season record. They stand alone at the top of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with a 2-0 mark.
The New Richmond girls golf team keeps inching closer toward the 2011 Middle Border Conference championship. With wins in two MBC matches last week, the Tigers now hold a five-point lead in the conference standings over Osceola. All that stands between the Tigers and the conference title was this Tuesday's nine-hole match at Clifton High Highlands Golf Course and next Monday's MBC tournament. The 2011 MBC tournament will be an 18-hole event at the Ellsworth Country Club, starting at 9 a.m. on Monday. In both of the conference matches last week, the Tigers were closely pursued by Osceola.
The New Richmond girls tennis team now holds a 4-0 record in the Middle Border Conference after wins against Osceola and Ellsworth last week. The Tigers have not lost a match in any of their four conference bouts this season. They swept Osceola 7-0 last Thursday, two days after they'd defeated Ellsworth 7-0. Sometimes team progress can show most in a one-sided tennis match. When the Tigers played Ellsworth, there wasn't much drama expected in the match. Ellsworth is a young team that is working with its fourth different coach in four years.
In their home quad meet last Tuesday, a home match against Menomonie last Thursday and a tournament in Coon Rapids on Saturday, the New Richmond volleyball team had stretches where they played at a high level. The task for the young Tigers is to build those glimpses into complete games and get rid of the mini-meltdowns that cost them more chances at wins. In last Tuesday's quad against Middle Border Conference opponents Ellsworth, Durand and Prescott, the Tigers won five of the nine games they played.
Somerset's volleyball team began its Middle Border Conference season this Thursday with a home match against Prescott. To prepare for the conference season, the Spartans have been playing a challenging non-conference schedule. On Saturday the Spartans played four matches in a tournament in Hudson. All four matches were closely contested, with Somerset getting one win among the four. Somerset began the day against Prescott. The Spartans don't seem to be a morning team. Prescott was able to score a 25-18, 25-19 win in that match. Errors in returning serves cost the Spartans against Prescott.
If volleyball games were played to 20 points instead of 25, the St. Croix Central volleyball team would have a drastically different record this season. After close losses to Baldwin-Woodville and Somerset last week, the Panthers' hold a record of 1-8. In many of those games, the Panthers led deep into the contest. Nerves seem to get the better of the young Panthers in the final stretch of those games, opening the door for opponents to pull off comebacks. That was the case in both of the Panthers' losses last week.
The early momentum built by the Somerset boys soccer team has been stalled by a crushing load of injuries. The injuries and necessary changes to the lineup caused the Spartans to suffer through a difficult stretch of games last week. The Spartans lost games to Rice Lake and Baldwin-Woodville at the end of last week. The loss to Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday was especially disheartening for the Spartans. The Spartans lost to B-W 7-1.
A new event has been added to the Somerset High School calendar designed to help new freshmen adjust to life as high school students. A freshman retreat will be held at St. Croix National on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The retreat will cover the entire school day. The retreat is being organized by High School Principal Shawn Madden and High School Director of Programs Bill Roll. The idea for the retreat came from a youth risk behavior survey that was done at the middle school the past two years.
It didn't take long for the youthful New Richmond boys soccer team to rise to the top of the Middle Border Conference standings. The Tigers knocked off their two main MBC challengers, Barron and Osceola, in games at the NRHS soccer field last week. Last Tuesday the Tigers knocked off a Barron team that came to New Richmond undefeated. The Tigers used goals from freshmen Mitch Giannini and Luke Landahl to tarnish the Golden Bears' perfect record, 2-0. On Thursday the Tigers hosted Osceola, the team that had narrowly beaten the Tigers out of the MBC championship a year ago.