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Thursday Sports: Tigers, Spartans both post MBC soccer wins

New Richmond's Addie Zinck is shown on her way to a victory in the 100 meter hurdles in Thursday's meet at Prescott. Katie Davidson / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Ashley Mann pitched solidly for the St. Croix Central softball team on Thursday, but a porous defense hurt the Panthers in a 17-0 loss against Ellsworth. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

For the New Richmond girls soccer team, the girls have learned the difference between having the expectation of winning and expecting to win.

The Tigers needed about 10 minutes to reach peak efficiency, but from there they were unstoppable in an 11-1 Middle Border Conference win over Amery on Thursday. The Somerset soccer team also recorded an MBC win Thursday, winning at Osceola 2-0.

New Richmond soccer

The Tigers have been on a steady climb since struggling through the first three games of the season. Tiger coach Tracey Boyle said the team learned that it couldn’t simply expect to win because the team was coming off of two highly successful seasons.

“The girls are realizing it doesn’t just come to them. They had to work harder. They’re understanding they have to have the effort to win,” Boyle said.

Amery hit the Tigers with everything it had early in Thursday’s game and the score was tied 1-1 after 10 minutes of play. This is one of the strongest rivalries in the MBC and it showed.

“Amery came at us really hard. They were really motivated and they have good leadership,” Boyle said.

The Tigers weathered Amery’s initial charge and in the next 15 minutes, the Tigers took control of the game by scoring five times.

In the 11 goals, there was one that stood out to Boyle. Senior Emily Montreal was celebrating her 18th birthday on Thursday and she was able to score her first varsity goal on her birthday.

Maya Greenquist again led the Tigers, finishing with three goals and three assists. Kacie Malone scored twice and Teresa Tenner, Kialie Malone, Lauren Graham, Amelia Feuerer and Maria Giannini each scored one goal. Taylor Mitchell assisted on three of the goals.

The Tigers will be back in action on Saturday when they host Eau Claire North at 11 a.m.

Somerset soccer

After suffering their first two losses of the season, the Spartans returned to their winning ways with a 2-0 victory at Osceola on Thursday.

When the Spartans are playing well, they are possessing the ball for a high percentage of the game. Somerset coach Bill Roll said the recent loss to New Richmond was the first game this season where the Spartans didn’t outpossess their opponent. By possessing the ball for such long stretches of the game on Thursday, the Spartans were able to limit Osceola to three shots on goal.

Two sophomores scored Somerset’s goals Thursday, with passes from freshmen setting up each goal. Taylor Paulson gave the Spartans an early lead, scoring before five minutes had elapsed in the game. Freshman Rachel Webb made a nice pass to Paulson. The pass put Paulson in a position to get past the Osceola defense and make a clean run at the Osceola goal.

The Spartans increased the lead to 2-0 before halftime. Freshman Erin Huerta made a strong individual play, stealing the ball from an Osceola player. She immediately fired a lead pass for Satin Mull, who carried in a scored with a touch off her left foot.

“Erin’s was a good hustle play. We talked (as a team) after the New Richmond game about fighting for the ball harder. It was good to see them respond to that,” Roll said.

The Spartans are now 2-2 in the MBC. Roll said he was pleased to see the progress the team showed in this game, showing that the girls didn’t let the two losses impede their progress.

The next game for the Spartans will come on Monday, when they play at Spooner.

Somerset softball

A fast start gave the Spartans an edge and they carried that attitude throughout the game in defeating Osceola 8-2 at Larry Forrest Park in Somerset on Thursday.

Somerset scored four runs in the first inning. Behind the pitching of Roxanne Ring and steady defense, the Spartans made the early lead stand up.

“We finally started with a spark,” said Somerset coach Paige Johnson.

The Spartans used first inning hits from Mykenzie Leccia, Georgia Hammer, Ring and Audrey Leonard to build up the early lead. The Spartans didn’t score again until the fifth inning, but between the fifth and sixth they were able to produce four more runs. Hammer provided the big hit in the late innings, smashing a hit down the third base line with the bases loaded to bring home two runs.

Hammer and Ring led the Spartan attack with three hits apiece. Johnson said there was production up and down the batting order.

“The young players are stepping up. Everyone hits the ball, everyone had a spark,” she said.

The Spartans will be back in action Monday, playing a non-conference game at Grantsburg.

New Richmond softball

Tiger coach Lynzi Pechacek could have been quoting Charles Dickens in describing the Tigers’ performance against Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday. For the first four innings, it was the best of times for the Tigers. But the fifth inning was the worst of times for the young New Richmond team.

The Tigers led 2-1 after four innings. Then the Tigers showed their age, becoming unglued a bit in the final three innings as B-W pulled ahead for a 12-3 win.

“In the first four innings, we played the best we’ve played all year,” Pechacek said. “Leah (DeYoung) pitched the best game she’s thrown for us.”

Pechacek said the game became a mix of good and bad for the Tigers. She said the team hit the ball well, but had some bad baserunning mistakes. On defense, she said the Tigers fielded the ball well, but rushed their throws.

“We need to stop and gather ourselves and make good throws. We really beat ourselves,” Pechacek said.

Lexy Kupczak led the Tigers with two hits. She and Alina Rewald both delivered doubles. Rewald, DeYoung and Anna Hams drove home the Tigers’ runs.

The Tigers will be back in action on Friday, hosting Amery at 1 p.m.

St. Croix Central softball

Central took on the MBC leaders from Ellsworth on Thursday. Central’s passive defense allowed Ellsworth to break this game open, leading to a 17-0 win for Ellsworth.

Ellsworth scored three runs in the first inning. Ellsworth broke the game open with 11 runs in the second inning. Central’s defense showed little range, making for a tough day for pitcher Ashley Mann.

“Ashley hit her spots pretty well,” said Central coach Mike Nilssen.

Central was limited to two hits, from Olivia Wasley and Bailey Davis.

Nilssen said his team is dealing with a lack of confidence and it showed on the field.

“We played super flat. We need to find a way to come together and play as a team,” he said.

Central has a few days to regroup. The Panthers don’t play again until next Tuesday when they travel to New Richmond.

New Richmond track

Thursday’s track meet at Prescott proved to be a dual purpose meet for the New Richmond teams. New Richmond won both halves of the five-team meet, but the way the Tigers won was the best result of the night.

The coaches had intended for this meet to be all about the younger athletes on the team. But when last week’s meet at Menomonie was snowed out, the plans were altered. The Tiger coaches used many of the individual events to get times and distances on their younger athletes, while using the relays to get their veteran athletes some meet time.

Tiger boys coach Roger Reuvers said the results were better than the coaches had hoped. He said the progress of the young athletes on the team showed that the team has developed better depth than the coaches had anticipated. He said the meet also showed how well the team has bonded together. He used the boys 800 meter run finish as an example. New Richmond’s Max Blader and Andrew Kilibarda sprinted shoulder-to-shoulder down the stretch, with Blader by two-tenths of a second.

“The whole team was cheering like crazy for them,” Reuvers said.

Blader was one of four individual winners for the Tiger boys. Chase Chairle in the 3,200, Joe Powers in the 300 hurdles and Alex Jarchow in the triple jumps were also champs. Jarchow added to his freshman record that he broke in Tuesday’s meet, clearing 40 feet for the first time in his career. Kennan Stowers also broke a freshman record on Tuesday, running the 400 in 52.95 to beat a record set by Tyler Cran in 2009.

Among the other important finishes for the boys was a second place effort from Anders Lemire in the discus throw and a second place effort from Joey Kidder in the 400. The Tigers had four of the top five finishers in the triple jump.

The veteran boys showed the value of the meet, earning wins in the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 relays.

Reuvers said the depth that is developing on the team gives the coaches many more options. He said there are seven boys running 400s in 55 seconds or better and the same depth shows in the 200.

New Richmond’s girls put more of their veteran athletes in open events and it led to seven wins, along with two more victories in relay events.

Willa Rogers and Barb Kling both won two events. Rogers won the 800 and 1,600, with Kling winning the 400 and triple jump. Addie Zinck won the 100 hurdles, Abbie Montreal the long jump and Kayla Harris the 3,200. The relay victories came in the 800 and 1,600.

The Tiger girls are also getting more girls placing higher in events. Emma McVitty took second place in the 100 and Ashton Unruh was second in the high jump. The Tigers took three of the top five places in the 300 hurdles.

Tiger girls coach Judy Weiss said the team victory Thursday was secondary, with getting the younger athletes more experience being the primary goal. She said the drive shown by the younger girls, with McVitty being a prime example, is why the team making such steady progress.

“It’s about getting kids the opportunity to compete and see how they improve. That’s more important, finding the pieces we can put together at the end of the season,” Weiss said.

Next week will be busy for the Tigers. They will compete at Eau Claire North on Tuesday. On Thursday, April 25, the Tigers will host a meet with St. Croix Central, Osceola, River Falls, Baldwin-Woodville and Elk Mound scheduled to take part.

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.

(651) 301-7848
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