Soccer blanks MenomonieThe Raiders girls’ soccer team has struggled to put the ball into the net against Big Rivers Conference opponents this season, so head coach John Knutson said it was nice to see the team score three times in its shutout victory over Menomonie last Tuesday.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
The Raiders girls’ soccer team has struggled to put the ball into the net against Big Rivers Conference opponents this season, so head coach John Knutson said it was nice to see the team score three times in its shutout victory over Menomonie last Tuesday.
“It’s a good confidence builder for our offensive attack,” he said. “We had three dynamic goals tonight and hopefully that offensive momentum will carry through the second half of our season.”
The win came exactly a week after the Raiders scored seven goals in a nonconference shutout victory against Baldwin-Woodville. But in conference play, Hudson had found the back of the net just twice going into last Tuesday’s game against Menomonie, including a 1-0 win over the Indians in the teams’ previous meeting April 14.
Like many games this season, the Raiders dominated time of possession last Tuesday and outshot the Indians 21-3 on their way to the 3-0 win. Alyssa Muller opened the scoring off a beautiful through pass by Paige Ommen before Ommen beat the Indians’ goalkeeper from 35-yards out on a direct free kick to stake Hudson to a 2-0 halftime lead.
The Raiders’ third goal came after some nice passing through midfield ended with Alyssa Claflin directing a shot across the goal face and off the far post.
Two days later the Raiders gave BRC leader River Falls all it could handle before coming out on the short end of a 2-0 decision.
Both Wildcat goals were the result of wet, slippery conditions that gave River Falls second chances in front of the Raider net.
After a scoreless first half, a light drizzle began to fall and River Falls scored when Hudson goalkeeper Tessa Bakken appeared to catch the ball, then lost control and the Wildcats Emily Blasius put the loose ball in the back of the net.
The second River Falls’ goal came in the final minute when the BRC’s leading scorer, Sarah Vitale, put back a rebound.
“It’s obviously tough on the goalkeepers with the wet conditions, but honestly, that’s what we’ve had to play in almost every game this year, rain, snow or cold!” Knutson said about the conditions. “Sure, I wish we could have held onto both of those balls, which are normally easy saves for Tessa, and gone home with a 0-0 tie, but the fact is, opponents don’t score on our goalkeeper, they score on our team. Had our field players not allowed the shots, the wet ball or the pace of the shots wouldn’t have been an issue. We all need to work better to keep our opponents from scoring.”
The Raiders wind down the regular season with three home games this week, including Thursday, May 19 against Eau Claire North and Friday, May 20 against New Richmond. Hudson is currently 5-6-1 overall, 2-5-1 in the BRC.
Assistant coach Megan Knutson said the team is looking for a strong finish.
“We’re confident that we will finish the season strong at home,” she said. “The team has improved in several technical and tactical areas from the start of the season to now. And we are always proud of the effort and attitude with these girls.”
John Knutson said he’s grateful for his youngest daughter’s assistance in practice and on the sidelines this season.
“It’s been great!” he said. “I really like the way Megan works with the girls in practice and during games. To have an assistant coach like Megan, who not only played for Hudson High School but went on to play and be a captain in college at UW-La Crosse, is great. The girls respect her knowledge and ability and she often steps in to lead by example. I’ve tried that a couple times and as you might imagine…the team just laughs. We have a lot of fun and I think with Megan and me coaching together we’ve made a pretty good team!”