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Somerset falls to Ashland in soccer regional final

Somerset senior Anna Rybacki (5) works the ball upfield against Barron's Amia Fornell (15) during last Thursday's WIAA playoff game in Somerset.

Twenty-four wins. Losses by 2-1 scores to the top seed in the WIAA Division 3 regional final each of the past two years.

In terms of respectability, the Somerset girls soccer program has grown immensely in the past two seasons.

Somerset’s 2018 season came to an end on Saturday in the regional final at Ashland. Playing against the top seed, the fourth-seeded Spartans and the Oredockers were tied 1-1 at halftime. Ashland scored early in the second half, the only goal of the half, as Ashland prevailed 2-1.

The senior class for the Spartans has accomplished a great deal over their four years and particularly in the past two years. The Spartans finished third in the Middle Border Conference this season while amassing a 13-5-2 record. Over the past two seasons, the Spartans are 24-11-4.

There are 10 seniors on the Spartans’ roster and they are one of the most accomplished classes in team history. They’re led by forward Anna Rybacki, who had one of the best offensive seasons in team history with 33 goals and 18 assists.

Anya Swanson led the Spartans with 19 assists. Hannah Waskosky finished with 10 goals and 9 assists. and she took all the team’s corner kicks and free kicks.

Goalkeeper Taylor Sporleder was in net for all 13 of the team’s wins this season.

Hannah Meyer and Bryanna Sengbusch were key seniors on the Spartan defense. Tori Gareis, Bailey Landry, Jacqueline Martell and Leah Patterson were reserves who played important minutes for the team this season.

The seniors accounted for 56 goals this season.

“The senior class was a big part of turning the program back around in the right direction,” said Somerset coach Bill Roll. “They were all-in with what we were doing from Day One.”

In the regional final, both teams scored in the first 20 minutes of the game. Ashland scored first, eight  minutes into the action. Approximately 10 minutes later, Somerset struck back. Waskosky sent a through-ball ahead to Rybacki, who got behind the Ashland defense and scored on the break.

The score remained 1-1 until Ashland scored early in the second half. The weather then gave both teams a break with a 30-minute lightning delay coming with 27 minutes left in the game.

Roll said the Spartans gave everything they had after the delay, but couldn’t put the ball in the goal.

“After the delay, I thought we outplayed them by quite a bit,” Roll said.

As the fourth seed, it would have been an upset if Somerset had won on Saturday. But Roll said the seniors can end their career proudly with the effort they gave in this game.

“We played well enough to give ourselves a chance to win. We fought hard right to the end,” he said.

Somerset reached Saturday’s game by winning their home finale last Thursday. The Spartans finally were able to defeat Barron, winning by a 3-2 score. Barron had won the first meeting between the two teams and they tied in the second game.

Taylor Paulson scored eight minutes into the game for the Spartans and they never trailed. Waskosky drilled a shot from 25 yards away that just got under the crossbar, putting Somerset ahead, 2-0, 19 minutes into the game. Rice Lake scored at the 51:45 mark, but Rybacki scored 50 seconds later to expand the Spartans’ lead back to two goals.

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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