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Soccer: Teamwork carries Tigers to third straight MBC title, Somerset also rolling

Somerset's Megan Larse (3) battles an Osceola defender for control of the ball during last week's Spartan victory. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The New Richmond soccer girls are unbeaten champions in the Middle Border Conference after winning at Spooner, 11-1, on Monday. This is the third straight conference championship won by the Tigers.

The Tigers are successes because of their unselfish play, so it was fitting that's how they capped the conference title. In the win at Spooner, 10 different Tigers netted goals. Kacie Malone scored twice and Maya Greenquist, Hannah Jensen, Zoe Christensen, Shelby Pahnke, Jhette Gabriel, Lauren Graham, Katie Moeller, Amelia Feuerer and Delaney Brown each scored one goal Spooner.

The Tigers finish with an 8-0 conference record. They scored 57 goals in their conference games. The Tigers will be playing at home on Tuesday against Baldwin-Woodville. This will be Senior Night for the Tigers. On Saturday, at noon, the Tigers will host La Crosse Central.

Teamwork has been the foremost idea within the Tigers this season and the conference title is a product of putting the team first.

"I'm very proud of how our girls work. They're such unselfish players. This is such a humble, awesome group of kids," Boyle said.

A trip across the state served the Tigers well. The Tigers scored wins over Wausau East and Hustisford in a weekend tournament played at D.C. Everest High School in Schofield.

It took the Tigers most of the first half Friday against Wausau East to readjust to playing a wide-open style of play. The Tigers came around, with a strong second half resulting in a 4-3 Tiger win.

"We started out really rough," said Boyle. "We haven't been used to playing a full-field soccer game."

Boyle said the Tigers' recent MBC opponents have played a slowed, defensive style in attempts to neutralize the Tigers' scoring ability. The Tigers came back from a 3-2 deficit in the second half. Kacie Malone scored the tying goal. Greenquist put the Tigers ahead, scoring on a penalty kick with 20 minutes left in the game. Greenquist also scored the Tigers' first goal, with Taylor Mitchell getting the second Tiger goal.

The intensity of Friday's second half carried into Saturday's game. Hustisford is a Division 4 team that hadn't lost until this weekend. The Tigers rolled to an 8-1 win in Saturday's game.

Graham scored the Tigers' opening goal. That was followed by two goals from Amelia Feuerer and one each from Greenquist, Audrey Feuerer, Amanda Johnson, Anna Hop and Emily Montreal.

"Once we got the first goal, we took off with it," Boyle said. Boyle said the road trip was beneficial in terms of on-field success against good competition, but also for the team to have fun and bond on an overnight outing.

A 4-0 win at Baldwin-Woodville last Tuesday assured the Tigers a share of the 2019 MBC title.

The Tigers faced the same defensive approach from an opponent on Tuesday that they did on Monday at Hayward. B-W packed the goalie box with defenders, so any time a Tiger got the ball near the goal, they were swarmed by a wall of defenders.

Hop led the Tigers Monday by scoring her first career hat trick. Hop plays on the outside, and two of her goals came on crossing passes to her side of the field, away from the concentrated presence of the B-W defenders.

Greenquist scored the fourth Tiger goal. Amelia Feuerer assisted on two goals and Johnson assisted on one goal.

Boyle said she's expecting to face more of this defense-first approach from opponents in the MBC, because they're trying to make their records look better for comparables when it comes to the WIAA tournament seeding process that will be done soon.

Somerset's 11th win

The Spartans recorded their 11th win of the season by winning Monday over Barron, 6-0. The Spartans took charge of the game quickly, leading 6-0 at halftime, before the teams played a scoreless second half.

Satin Mull scored three of the Spartans' goals. Taylor Paulson, Erin Huerta and Kristine Scherz each scored once. For Scherz, it was her first varsity goal. It came off a corner kick. Spartan coach Bill Roll said the team has come close a number of times to scoring off a corner kick and it finally happened.

This was the seventh time this season the Spartans have shut out their opponent. They will try to add to their win total on Thursday when they head north to play at Washburn.

The biggest turnaround of the day last Thursday might have been made by the Somerset girls. Somerset trailed Osceola 1-0 at halftime. Seventeen seconds into the second half, the game was tied and 10 minutes into the half, Somerset had a 3-1 lead. The Spartans finished the night with a 5-1 win.

Roll was not delicate in his assessment of the first half.

"That was the worst half we played all year. We were all just a little off. We weren't playing quick. It was a mindset thing," he said.

The Spartans got the ball to start the second half. Huerta delivered a lead pass to Mull, who scored 17 seconds into the action. Huerta put the Spartans ahead five minutes into the half. She's been aggressively charging goal kicks and it worked again, stealing the ball and quickly turning it into a goal.

Another goal came five minutes later, off a passing combination between the forwards, with Taylor Paulson setting up Mull for the goal.

Paulson scored in the 80th minute off a lead pass from Huerta. Paulson raced past an Osceola defender to make the score possible.

"It was a good hustle play by Taylor," Roll said.

Mull completed her hat trick in the 83rd minute off an assist from Liv Hoff.

Roll said the Spartans are 30-0-4 in games where they've allowed zero or one goal over the past three seasons.

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