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 girls hockey team earned its first win of the 2005-06 season last Tuesday. The Tigers locked up in a close game with the Blizzard, a team based out of Webster which includes skaters from Grantsburg, Siren and Frederic. The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and 2-2 after the second period. The Tigers got the only goal of the third period to earn a 3-2 win. This was the Tigers' second game of the season. They had lost their opening game to Onalaska, 4-0. Emily Cook scored the winning goal for the Tigers Tuesday, 3:38 into the third period.
If wrestling tough opponents early in the season results in success down the road, the Somerset wrestling team should improve rapidly. The Spartans started the 2005-06 season last Thursday wrestling at Ellsworth in a Middle Border Conference dual meet. Ellsworth is the defending MBC champion and the Panthers delivered a 51-14 loss to the Spartans Thursday. Somerset got three wins in the match, from three of its most experienced wrestlers.
Somerset's final play, an incomplete pass on a fourth-and-one with 1:36 left in the game, will be the play everyone remembers from the Spartans' 17-14 2005 Division 5 state championship loss to Lancaster. Singling out that play would be a gross understatement on a tremendous game filled with pivotal plays. Going for a big play on fourth down has been a common practice for Somerset, and for Lancaster, this season.
The battle between two undefeated teams, Somerset and Lancaster, was everything you could ask for in a state championship game. Lancaster, the team that was ranked number one in Division 5 all season, was able to score on a 31-yard touchdown pass with three minutes left in the game, to dramatically knock off Somerset, 17-14. This was an emotion-packed game with more plot twists than your favorite mystery novel.
The Somerset football team will play in its third WIAA Division 5 state championship game this Thursday at 4 p.m. Somerset (13-0) will face undefeated Lancaster in this year's Division 5 state title game. To reach Thursday's title game, Somerset eliminated two-time defending state champion Brillion on Saturday, 16-0. Somerset played another smothering defensive game to eliminate Brillion. The Spartan defense provided two of the scores.
The Somerset volleyball team, which tied for second place in the Middle Border Conference, had four players named to the 2005 all-MBC volleyball team. New Richmond, which placed fourth in the MBC this season, had four players named to the all-conference team, which was announced last week. For New Richmond, Kelsie Abramson and Katie Parker were selected as first-team all-MBC players. Krista Mitchell and Jena O'Flanagan were placed on the honorable mention all-conference list. All three of Somerset's all-conference choices made their way onto the all-MBC first team.
The two oldest of the Demulling sisters are back running together.
Prescott's football team was rapidly streaking toward the WIAA playoffs when the New Richmond Tigers tried to derail Prescott last Thursday. Prescott's talent at the ball-handling positions carried the Cardinals to a 28-0 win over the Tigers. The Tigers end the 2005 season with a 1-8 record after having beaten Baldwin-Woodville the previous week. Prescott may have the most balanced offense in the Middle Border Conference this season as one of the three teams that tied for second in the MBC. The Cards presented quite a defensive challenge for the Tigers.
The St. Croix Central football team moved up into a tie for second place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference final football standings last Thursday. In their final regular season game, the Panthers tore through Unity 41-0 last Thursday.
The battle for the Middle Border Conference football title proved to be one-sided, to say the least. Somerset scored early and Somerset scored often, burying Osceola with 36 first half points. With running time in the second half, the Spartans were quickly able to put away a 36-0 win. With the win the Spartans lock up their third straight undisputed MBC championship. The win also avenges the Spartans' last loss in the MBC, in 2003 at Osceola.