Young Raider soccer team shows resolve in pair of lossesWhen you’re fielding a team with 14 players without any varsity experience, including 12 freshmen and sophomores, it doesn’t help when you lose two players to injury in the first half of your very first game.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
When you’re fielding a team with 14 players without any varsity experience, including 12 freshmen and sophomores, it doesn’t help when you lose two players to injury in the first half of your very first game.
But that’s what happened to the Raider boys’ soccer team last Tuesday when they opened the season with a pair of games against La Crosse Central and Onalaska at the middle school field. The result was a pair of losses — 2-1 to La Crosse Central and 3-1 to Onalaska.
Despite the early setback, head coach Chuck Bublitz said he liked what he saw in the first competition of the season.
“It was a good couple of games,” he said. “Not the results the team was looking for, but a young, inexperienced team showed fight and resolve as well as an instinct to possess the ball. All good building blocks for the season.”
Hudson was unlucky to go down 1-0 early against La Crosse Central when a free kick deflected off the wall of Raider defenders and into the net.
Senior captain Chris Berglund made good on a second half penalty kick to tie the score, but the Red Raiders added a goal later in the half to make the final 2-1.
Bublitz said Berglund, Zach Schendel, Alex Schnobrich and Mitch Karras all worked hard on the flanks and captain JC Tantalean came through with an excellent defensive effort in the middle.
“We were hurt by poor finishing throughout the game,” Bublitz said. “We were unable to capitalize on the good chances we created.”
The Raiders also lost Nick Jorgenson and Micah Pederson to injury in the first half.
In Tuesday’s second game against Onalaska, Tantalean scored off a scramble in the box following a corner kick to pull the Raiders within a goal, 2-1, but the Hilltoppers added an insurance tally and held on for a 3-1 win.
“That was a great effort by the team to keep the ball alive,” Bublitz said about Tantalean’s goal.
Bublitz said Berglund struggled with cramps in the Raiders’ second game of the day but put in a valiant effort.
“Onalaska brought a higher tempo and greater level of physicality, which took us awhile to adjust to after a slower paced first game,” the coach said.
After opening Big Rivers Conference play at home against Eau Claire Memorial Tuesday night, Aug. 24 (Post press time note: Eau Claire defeated the Raiders in that game by a score of 2-1), the Raiders will host Menomonie Thursday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. before visiting River Falls on Tuesday, Aug. 31, for a 5 p.m. kickoff.