Soccer rolls to three in a rowThe Raider girls’ soccer is gearing up for the postseason on a high note after winning three straight games last week, including a pair of Big Rivers Conference contests.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
The Raider girls’ soccer is gearing up for the postseason on a high note after winning three straight games last week, including a pair of Big Rivers Conference contests.
Hudson blanked Rice Lake, 3-0, last Tuesday, May 17 and shut out Eau Claire North, 1-0, in double overtime Thursday, May 19 before picking up a 3-1 nonconference victory over New Richmond on Friday, May 20.
The Raiders, now 8-6-1 overall, 3-5-1 in the BRC, have won four of their last five games and wrapped up the regular season this past Tuesday (May 24) at home against Chippewa Falls. The WIAA regional playoffs are set to begin on Thursday, June 2, with sites and pairings yet to be determined.
Last Tuesday against Rice Lake, the Raiders outshot the Warriors 42-4 in their 3-0 victory. Senior co-captain Paige Ommen accounted for the first two Raider goals and midfielder Haley Bouzard was in the right place at the right time on the back side to tally Hudson’s third and final goal of the night.
Head coach John Knutson said the win meant a lot to the team, especially after battling the Warriors to a scoreless tie in the teams’ first meeting April 21.
“This was a good win for us,” he said. “In our first game with Rice Lake on their home field we outshot them but couldn’t score and went home after playing the 80 minute game in regulation followed by two 10 minute overtime periods ending with a 0-0 tie. Outshooting an opponent 42-4 is impressive and getting another shut out is also good for the team.”
Knutson pointed to the play of senior goalkeeper Tessa Bakken and center defender Logan Knobel, along with help from junior defender Molli Bircht and sophomores Nicola Mara and Alyssa Muller, as keys to the shutout.
Thursday against Eau Claire North, sophomore Kristin Sobottka set up Ommen for the game-winning goal in the 94th minute as the Raiders avenged a 3-0 loss to the Huskies back on April 26.
Hudson dominated possession in the first half, outshooting the Huskies 18-1, and put nine more shots on net in the second half but the game remained scoreless through the first ten-minute overtime. Finally, six minutes short of going in the books as a 0-0 tie, Sobottka got the ball to Ommen, who controlled the ball into the box and put her shot past the Husky goalkeeper to give Hudson the win.
“When you outshoot a team 35-2, you would expect to win, but if outplaying a team was the only criteria, we would have beaten them the last game but we didn’t,” Knutson said. “The score is the only thing that counts at the end of the game. You have to find a way to finish…and tonight we did.”
Assistant coach Megan Knutson, who showed her exuberance by skipping onto the field with arms in the air to join the winning team after the goal, said the team has been working hard in practice on shooting and finishing drills.
“Our players are putting what they are learning into practice out on the field,” she said. “It’s gratifying to see the team improve their technical proficiency and then apply what they learn to game situations to finish like we did tonight. This was a great win for the girls who worked so hard, not just tonight but all the time, and it’s a great win for the school, the parents and the fans of the Hudson Raiders!”
Bakken stopped both shots she faced to record her seventh shutout of the season.
Friday night, New Richmond scored off a corner kick three minutes into the game to take an early 1-0 lead, but Hudson tied the score on a goal by junior midfielder Nadja Mataya after a pass from Bouzard, then took the lead for good on a goal from senior midfielder Ilse Wolbank.
The raiders’ final goal came from senior captain Ashley Johnson, who dribbled the ball deftly around two different New Richmond defenders and manufactured a shot into the back of the Tiger net.
“All three goals were terrific tonight,” John Knutson said. “The first by Mataya was a beautiful mid-air volley out of the air on a great cross by Haley Bouzard. The second from Wolbank was a long distance shot by Ilse, who has a terrific left foot. And the third goal by Ash was just sheer determination as she made two great moves to evade defenders and work into an open position where she hit an absolute rocket past their keeper.”
Knutson went on to say that he was proud that the Raiders kept their composure and overcame the early deficit to dominate the offensive possession and shots in the game once again.