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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It would have taken a miracle for the New Richmond girls golf team to overtake St. Croix Falls for the 2009 Middle Border Conference championship and the Saints weren't going to let that happen. So the Tigers ended up taking second place at last Thursday's 2009 MBC golf tournament, which placed them second overall in the 2009 MBC golf standings. St. Croix Falls won the conference tournament with a team score of 390.
For the second straight week, the St. Croix Central football team put all the pieces together. A big play offense and a smothering defense resulted in a 28-0 win for the Panthers in their 2009 Homecoming game against Spring Valley last Friday. The big play came via the flashy running of junior halfback Joe Poulin. Poulin broke the game open with an 85-yard breakaway in the second quarter that put the Panthers up by a 14-0 score. On the play the line created a seam for Poulin, who then hurdled a defender to break into the clear.
Two three-game wins last week have kept the New Richmond volleyball team undefeated as they near the midpoint of the Middle Border Conference season. The Tigers swept matches against Durand and Prescott last week to raise their MBC record to 3-0. The Tigers and Somerset started this week sharing the conference lead. Last Tuesday the Tigers played at Durand. Durand had beaten the Tigers in the Hudson quad meet early in the season, so the Tigers felt they had something to prove. They played that way in the first game, scalding Durand with a 25-9 win.
The New Richmond boys soccer team played its best game of the season last Tuesday in knocking off Middle Border Conference leader Amery. The Tigers' win threw the lead of the MBC into a four-way tie between the Tigers, Amery, Osceola and Hayward. Unfortunately, the Tigers couldn't come up with the same type of effort at Osceola on Friday that they had on Tuesday. Osceola was quite aggressive in the offensive zone and the Chieftains capitalized well on their chances, winning 3-1.
Running in the midst of more than 400 other runners can be a little unnerving and the New Richmond and Somerset cross country teams found it to be a challenge when they competed in the Roy Griak Invitational, sponsored by the University of Minnesota last Saturday. The local teams didn't do terribly, but none of the runners broke out of the pack to have great days either. New Richmond's girls placed 16th among 49 teams in the girls high school Maroon race on Saturday.
The "firsts" continue to arrive for the inaugural Somerset varsity boys soccer team. Last week the Spartans scored their first homefield win, when they beat Baldwin-Woodville in overtime on Thursday. That win allowed the Spartans to climb out of the basement in the Middle Border Conference standings for the first time. The Spartans beat B-W 3-2, with Parker LeMire scoring the winning goal in the second overtime of the game. Somerset got the first goal of the game. Anthony Howe used a smart individual effort to get the goal. He got the ball along the right baseline.
Not every opponent is going to have powerful hitters that test your reflexes and play at your pace. That's what the Somerset volleyball team is learning. The Spartans faced two opponents who don't possess the next attack that the Spartans have. So the Spartans had to learn a little patience in their matches against Prescott and Ellsworth last week. The Spartans did manage to take care of both matches in three games. They dispatched Prescott by scores of 25-17, 25-10, 25-21 last Tuesday.
Football is usually the main show during Homecoming Week, but the St. Croix Central volleyball team put on a pretty spectacular show of its own for the 2009 Panther Homecoming Week last week. The Panthers climbed to 3-1 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference with powerful wins over Elk Mound and Elmwood last week. The win over Elk Mound was definitely a statement win for the Panthers.
The outpouring of caring for Alie Thanig has been incredible. Thanig, the Somerset second-grader who suffers from leukemia, underwent her bone marrow transplant on Monday at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. The donor of the bone marrow was her older sister Kayli. Updates on Alie's condition can be found on her Caring Bridge Web site, www.caringbridge.org/visit/aliethanig . A Sept. 18 benefit at General Sam's in Somerset for the Thanigs was an overwhelming success.
The 35-0 final score might give the indication that the Somerset offense performed at peak efficiency in its shutout win over Prescott last Friday. The Somerset coaches consider the offense a work in progress as the players and coaches learn the new offense that has been installed this season. The win raises the Spartans' record to 2-0 in the Middle Border Conference. They are already alone at the top of the conference. Six teams had 1-1 records and Ellsworth brings up the rear with an 0-2 mark. Ellsworth will be Somerset's opposition this Friday. The game will be played in Ellsworth.