Girls soccer splits openersTwo games, two outcomes for the Raiders girls’ soccer team last week. The Raiders jumped right into Big Rivers Conference play to open their season and after leading Eau Claire Memorial 1-0 at halftime on Tuesday, April 12 they came out on the short end of a 5-1 decision.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
Two games, two outcomes for the Raiders girls’ soccer team last week.
The Raiders jumped right into Big Rivers Conference play to open their season and after leading Eau Claire Memorial 1-0 at halftime on Tuesday, April 12 they came out on the short end of a 5-1 decision.
Thursday, April 14, they held Menomonie without a shot on goal and recorded a 1-0 victory.
The Raiders were scheduled to host River Falls in their home opener Tuesday night, April 19 before hitting the road for six straight games, beginning Thursday, April 21, at Rice Lake.
First-year head coach John Knutson said last Tuesday’s opener against a fast and physical Eau Claire Memorial squad was a good early test for the Raiders.
“It was a good learning experience for our squad to see what kind of effort it will take to be a contender in the Big Rivers Conference,” he said. “With our first seven of eight games being on the road, the metal of this team will be tested early and we can have the advantage of being home the whole second half of the season.”
Hudson took a 1-0 lead on the Old Abes when sophomore Kristin Sobottka knocked home a left-footed shot inside the box with about eight minutes remaining in the first half. But Eau Claire Memorial came out flying in the second half and scored five unanswered goals while finishing with a 25-5 shot advantage over the Raiders.
“The fitness and athleticism of the Old Abes really showed in the second half with their relentless offensive attack, which had our midfielders and defenders tiring,” Knutson said.
Thursday it was the Raiders who dominated play, creating 19 shots with 15 of those shots being on net. The lone Raider goal came on a first-half penalty shot by senior co-captain Ashley Johnson.
Knutson said strong midfield play by Johnson and senior co-captain Paige Ommen created plenty of opportunities for the Raiders.
“Ommen really was the catalyst for our ball control and possession in this game,” he said. “She does a great job of running our offensive efforts and distributes the ball as well as anyone I’ve seen.”
The Raider defense, meanwhile, shut down the Indians. Senior goalkeeper Tessa Bakken touched the ball just once all night while senior Logan Knobel, sophomore Alyssa Muller and sophomore Nicole Mara in the back defense, and junior Molli Bichrt and Johnson in the midfield, held Menomonie in check.
“They all did a magnificent job of not allowing a single shot on goal,” Knutson said.
After Thursday’s BRC contest at Rice Lake, the Raiders will visit Eau Claire North on Tuesday, April 26 and Chippewa Falls Thursday, April 28.