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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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.
All night it was up to the New Richmond defense to keep the Tigers in Friday's Middle Border Conference opener at Durand. In the overtime, it was the offense that stepped up and got the Tigers the win, 15-14. The win is the first of the season for the Tigers after losses to tough non-conference opponents in Rice Lake and River Falls. The Tiger offense showed that it is still a work in progress. Durand was able to outgain the Tigers by more than 100 yards.
One of the most majestic win streaks in Middle Border Conference history came to an end on Friday night. Until then, the Somerset football team had not lost a Middle Border Conference home game since joining the conference in 2002. The winning streak came to an abrupt end when Prescott delivered a 27-12 knockout to the Spartans at Seibel Field on Friday. Make no mistake, Prescott earned the win, especially with its defensive effort.
Sweltering heat might have slowed the runners, but it sure wasn't going to stop them in the 2011 St. Croix Central Cross Country Invitational last Thursday. With temperatures topping 90 degrees and heavy humidity, coaches were being cautious with their runners. Several runners were pulled out during the races because coaches feared their athletes were being overcome by the heat. Prescott was the team champion in the boys race with Spring Valley taking the girls meet title.
Somerset's Bristol Ridge Golf Club has been one of the toughest courses for Middle Border Conference golfers to master. That was shown again last Tuesday, when the MBC girls played a nine-hole match on the back nine at Bristol Ridge. New Richmond was able to earn the team victory, by shooting a 184, which is 10-15 strokes higher than most of the Tigers' recent rounds. Osceola took second with a 191 and Somerset was third at 206. St. Croix Central placed fifth with a 213. New Richmond's balanced lineup was the difference in this meet.
After one-third of the regular season, the St. Croix Central football team finally gets to make its homefield debut this Friday. The Panthers are coming off a 36-12 win over Glenwood City in the opening round of Dunn-St. Croix Conference games last Friday. That makes Central 3-0 overall this season. The home opener on Friday will be against Elk Mound, historically one of the Panthers' toughest rivals in the D-SC. Central coach Tony DiSalvo didn't need to remind the Panthers about last year's 33-30 loss to the Mounders.