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 nearly 30 years.
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The Somerset soccer and St. Croix Central volleyball teams advanced in WIAA playoff action on Thursday, while the New Richmond volleyball team saw its 2018 season come to an end. Somerset won in a devasting performance as the Spartans crushed Osceola, 8-0, in their opening game in the WIAA Division 3 regional tournament.
The September struggles are a thing of the past for the New Richmond volleyball team. The Tigers are 3-1 in their last four matches, including an impressive 3-2 win at Amery last Tuesday. The win moved the Tigers up to 2-5 in the Middle Border Conference standings while Amery finished at 4-3 in the MBC.
It hasn't taken long for the St. Croix Central volleyball team to build a tradition of success in the Middle Border Conference. Now in their fourth year in the MBC, the Panthers have won their second straight conference championship. The Panthers locked up a share of the 2018 MBC title with a three-set homecourt win against Prescott last Tuesday. Central and Osceola both finished 6-1 to share this season's conference title. The Panthers went 7-0 last year to win their first MBC crown.
Top runners, combined with outstanding depth, resulted in the New Richmond girls and the St. Croix Central boys winning 2018 Middle Border Conference cross country championships.
For the first third of Tuesday's WIAA Division 2 playoff opener, the New Richmond Tigers looked like a team that was filled with players seeing their first post-season action. So the Tiger veterans took over. After trailing 2-0, the Tigers marched back to defeat Onalaska 4-2 at the New Richmond High School soccer field. New Richmond advances to the second round of playoffs. The third-seeded Tigers will play at River Falls, the second seed in the regional bracket. The game will be played at 4 p.m. Saturday at River Falls High School.
The best team and individual performances in New Richmond girls golf history were the product of two focused days of play by the Tigers at the 2018 WIAA Division 1 Girls Golf State Championships in Madison last week. The Tigers finished in fifth place in the Division 1 team results, the highest a New Richmond girls team has ever placed at state. And Tiger senior Maggie Veenendall tied for sixth place in the Division 1 individual rankings, also the best showing for a Tiger in the girls state meet.
The Somerset boys soccer team is hoping to continue its recent strong play in the WIAA playoffs. The Spartans received the third seed in the Division 3 seeding meeting that was conducted on Sunday. By drawing the third seed, the Spartans will play at home this Thursday in the opening round of regional play. Osceola, the sixth seed, will be Thursday's opponent, with the game starting at 4 p.m.
The WIAA tournament series begins this week and the New Richmond boys soccer team appears fully ready for it. The Tigers won their two games last week against Cumberland and Chippewa Falls to raise their season record to 11-7-1. On Sunday, it was announced that the Tigers have received the third seed in the WIAA Division 2 regional bracket.
The girls on the Somerset volleyball team tried to make Senior Night memorable for the team's two seniors last Tuesday. The Spartans opened the night playing some of their finest volleyball of the season in a Middle Border Conference match against Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans won the opening set 25-19. From there, the Spartans weren't able to maintain that level of success. The Blackhawks came back to take the next three sets, 25-14, 25-17 and 25-12. This was the home-court send off for the team's two seniors, Brit Buchanan and Georgia Hammer.
The New Richmond, St. Croix Central and Somerset football teams will all have opening round home games this Friday when the WIAA state football playoffs begin. New Richmond will host La Crosse Logan in Division 3 action. St. Croix Central will host Adams-Friendship and Somerset will host Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau in Division 4. All these games begin at 7 p.m. on Friday.