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Somerset soccer team benefits from three early games

Somerset senior Hannah Meyer (right) tried to work the ball upfield against pressure from New Richmond's Jhette Gabriel (11) during last Thursday's game. Jordan Willi / RiverTown Multimedia

While there are many teams that haven't gotten onto the field yet this season, the Somerset girls soccer team already has three games in.

The Spartans are counting on that experience being an edge in what is likely to be a highly condensed schedule later in the season.

Last Thursday, the Spartans hosted New Richmond in a game that wasn't on anyone's schedule. But when the coaches saw a favorable forecast, they hurriedly arranged a game. New Richmond came to Somerset and the teams played a non-conference game, with the Tigers winning 4-0.

The weather was far less hospitable Friday, but the Spartans played anyway. They hosted Altoona, in the first varsity girls game in Altoona history. Somerset scored a 10-0 win.

"The early games, and having an older team will bode well for us," Somerset coach Bill Roll predicted.

Senior Anna Rybacki and freshman Taylor Paulsen both scored three goals against Altoona. Brianna Sengbusch, Hannah Meyer, Tori Gareis and Anya Swanson each scored once. Sengbusch and Meyer are seniors who've spent most of their career on defense. The coaches gave them some time at forward late in the game and they both scored their first career goals.

Roll said one of the objectives for the team early in the season was to develop more scoring threats to take pressure off Rybacki. The varied production against Altoona showed progress in that area. Paulsen's hat trick was a bright spot.

"We've been seeing good things out of her in practice. She's got that natural scoring ability," Roll said.

Roll said the New Richmond loss showed the team needs to be willing to play more physically. He said the girls need to develop more composure against tough opponents. He said tougher games will be played at a faster pace and the girls need to be ready for that

The Spartans are scheduled to host Spooner on Thursday, but that game will likely be postponed. The Spartans are scheduled to play at Rice Lake on Saturday. Next week starts with road games Monday at New Richmond and Tuesday at Amery.

Dave Newman

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 more than 30 years.

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