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 New Richmond football team needs to shake off the sting of Friday's 40-14 loss at Somerset in a hurry. New Richmond hosts Ellsworth this Friday. There are five teams bunched at the top of the Middle Border Conference football standings with 2-1 records. New Richmond, Somerset and Ellsworth are all in that mass, along with Durand and Prescott. Those five teams all have substantial chances to win the conference championship, but they also have to be concerned with qualifying for the WIAA playoffs.
The New Richmond girls golf team found a worthy adversary in Osceola in the Tigers' quest for the 2011 Middle Border Girls Golf Championship. With Osceola pushing them every step of the way, the Tigers performed when they were under the greatest pressure. The Tigers took the championship in the 2011 MBC girls golf tournament on Monday at Ellsworth. That win locked up the overall team championship for the Tigers. Osceola didn't leave the Tigers any margin for error in the tournament, but that's the way it has been most of the season. The Tigers won the tournament by shooting a score of 354.
A touchdown on the second play from scrimmage was an indication of the type of night the St. Croix Central football team had at Colfax on Friday. The Panther offense was nearly unstoppable and the defense was productive too as Central rolled to a 36-13 win over the Vikings on Friday. With the win the Panthers are now 5-0 for the season. They rest alone at the top of the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with their 3-0 record. The Panthers will have a little added pressure on them when they play at home this Friday.
New Richmond broke a 2-2 tie by scoring six unanswered goals to start the second half in the Middle Border Conference boys soccer game at Hayward last Thursday. Those goals carried the Tigers to an 8-3 victory, pushing the Tigers' MBC leading record to 8-0. The Tigers can finish with a perfect MBC regular season record this Thursday, when they play at Baldwin-Woodville. The Middle Border Conference boys soccer tournament begins late next week, with the brackets based on the regular season standings. The second half charge at Hayward was started by two unlikely sources.
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.