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New Richmond girls are returning to soccer sectionals

New Richmond freshman Kailie Malone (6) works the ball into the offensive zone against at pair of Onalaska defenders during last Thursday's playoff game. Thomas Lindfors / RiverTowns Multimedia

Last year, the New Richmond girls soccer team finished one win short of the WIAA state tournament.

The Tigers have another chance to get to state in 2018. The Tigers played their way into the WIAA Division 2 sectional tournament by winning a regional championship at La Crosse Central, 2-0, on Monday.

The win advances the Tigers into the sectional semifinal game, which will be played at River Falls at 5 p.m. Thursday. River Falls is the top seed in the sectional bracket and New Richmond is the third seed. Playing in the other sectional semifinal game are Pulaski and Marshfield. Pulaski was the team that defeated New Richmond in the 2017 Division 2 sectional championship game.

The Tigers have only lost once this season, in an indoor game against River Falls when they couldn't play outdoors because of the snowy weather that carried into April. Despite having one loss, the Tigers were seeded lower than La Crosse Central. Central placed third in the Mississippi Valley Conference with a 5-2-1 record.

"That whole conference voted us down to the third seed," said New Richmond coach Tracey Boyle. "It was a little more added dynamic, a little more motivation."

New Richmond is the only Middle Border Conference team in this Division 2 region, while the Mississippi Valley Conference had four teams in the bracket. All four have been eliminated.

The Tigers used the seeding snub as motivation and controlled the majority of the action during the game. Sophomore Maya Greenquist scored the only goal of the first half off a rebound where the ball bounced around and several players had a chance to put a foot on it.

"She drilled a really hard shot off the goalie. It had a lot off speed on it," Boyle said.

The score stood at 1-0 at halftime. In the second half, Amelia Feuerer scored off a cross from Kacie Malone. The Tigers had numerous high-quality scoring chances.

"We hit the post four or five times," Boyle said. "The girls played a solid, stepping-up game."

The Tigers knew they'd need to play better than they did during last Thursday's win over Onalaska. In their playoff opener, the Tigers defeated the sixth-seeded Onalaska squad, 1-0. The Tigers didn't score until 70 minutes into the game, when Greenquist scored to break the drought.

This game came after the Tigers hadn't played for two weeks.

"Let's just say I hope we got the rust and jitters out," Boyle said after the game.

The Tiger defense has been outstanding all season. Boyle said the girls on defense need very little time to assess what their opponent is doing, and then they effectively limit their opponent's scoring chances the rest of the game.

In the Onalaska game, junior goalkeeper Kerrigan Storie faced some of her toughest shots of the season.

"Kerrigan stepped up very well with some solid saves to keep us in the game," Boyle said.

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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