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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Last week started relatively easily for the New Richmond boys tennis team. The week got much tougher and the results for the Tigers slid as the competition level grew. Sweeping Durand The week started with the Tigers rolling past Durand, 7-0 last Tuesday. Durand is a fairly inexperienced team and the Tigers played more confidently against the young opponents. This wasn't a pretty win, but the Tigers did pull out wins in three matches that went to three sets. For a team struggling for confidence, the strong finishes were the best part of the match for the Tigers.
The Somerset softball team continues to be one of the hardest teams to figure out in the area. Are they the team that played an outstanding game against Middle Border Conference champion New Richmond? Are they the team that fell flat against Osceola, the bottom team in the MBC? The inconsistent play led to the Spartans drawing the seventh seed in the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament bracket. The Spartans will start the tournaments on Thursday, May 18, when they play at Cumberland, which received the second seed. On Monday the Spartans played at Ellsworth, losing to the Panthers 6-4.
Somerset and New Richmond soccer fans, mark next Tuesday on your calendar. The Somerset varsity girls soccer team will be hosting New Richmond in a 7 p.m. game under the lights that night. This will also be a combined Parents' Night event, with the seniors from both teams being honored. This will also be a Youth Night for both soccer associations. The combined Senior/Youth Night is an effort to bring more recognition to the two high school teams, which are completing their first season at the varsity level.
The New Richmond softball team has taken a commanding lead in the Middle Border Conference. The Tigers scored their tenth straight win on Friday when they beat Prescott 10-3. The Tigers now stand at 9-0 in the MBC. The only team with a chance to catch the Tigers is Ellsworth, which entered this week with a 6-2 conference record. Prescott gave the Tigers a good battle until the bottom of the sixth inning.
Should a first year varsity program be thinking about winning a conference championship? The New Richmond girls soccer team sure thinks so. The Tigers started the week 5-1 at the midway point in conference play. It is their goal to go 6-0 in the second half of the conference season, which would lock up the conference title for New Richmond. The only loss for New Richmond in the first half of the conference season was a storm-shortened loss to Amery.
Any hopes of winning a Middle Border Conference boys tennis championship in 2006 will depend upon how teams fare against Baldwin-Woodville and Eau Claire Regis. New Richmond's boys are now 0-1 against those conference co-favorites. The Tigers lost on their home courts last Thursday to Baldwin-Woodville, 5-2. This match was closer than the final outcome would indicate. Four of the seven matches went to three sets. Tiger coach Mike Montello said two of the best efforts from his team might have come in losing efforts.
The New Richmond girls soccer team went on the offensive last week. The result was a three-game winning streak. After struggling to score in its opening five games of the season, the Tigers scored 14 goals in three games last week. All three of those games were victories. The week started with a 2-1 win at Osceola last Tuesday. The game was scoreless at halftime. Then New Richmond's Steph Anderson scored twice in the second half. Osceola scored with 30 seconds left in the game to prevent the shutout. New Richmond outshot Osceola 15-3 in the game.
By building a two-game lead before reaching the mid-point of the Middle Border Conference softball season, the New Richmond girls are firmly established as favorites to win the 2006 MBC title. The Tigers climbed to 6-0 on Monday, by beating Durand 12-0. Playing in an arctic wind off Hatfield Lake, the Tigers wasted no effort in putting away Durand in five innings. Tiger pitcher Nikki Singerhouse threw a one-hitter, striking out 10 Durand batters. What stood out in this game was the Tigers' base running, especially in the third inning when they scored six runs.
The New Richmond boys tennis team got off to a promising start in the Middle Border Conference season on Monday, scoring a 5-2 win over Ellsworth. A sweep in the singles matches secured the team victory for the Tigers on Monday. The Tigers didn't lose a set in the singles matches. Jake Kleiner scored a 6-0, 6-2 win at one singles and Blake Berger won a tough match at two singles, 6-4, 7-5.
The wind was blowing so viciously that the pole vault event had to be stopped, and other events at last Tuesday's Somerset track meet were adversely affected by the weather. The windy conditions didn't stop any of the other events and this meet turned out to be a good experience for most of the athletes who took part. Somerset got a second place finish from its girls team, while the Spartan boys were fifth among the nine teams competing. St.