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Raider boys soccer team posts three shutouts in four games

Raider junior Adam Meade (12) uses a slide tackle to knock the ball away from Onalaska's Gabe Henry in the first half of Hudson's 4-0 victory over the Hilltoppers last Tuesday at the middle school field.

The Raider boys' soccer team outscored its opponents 18-2 in its first four games of the season last week, with a 2-0 loss to state powerhouse Hartland Arrowhead the only blemish on its record.

Hudson defeated Onalaska, 4-0, and La Crosse Aquinas, 7-0, in a pair of games last Tuesday at the middle school field. Over the weekend they traveled across the state to Hartland where they dropped a 2-0 decision before beating Milwaukee Ronald Reagan, 7-0.

The Raiders open Big Rivers Conference play Thursday, Aug. 23, at Menomonie and travel to Eau Claire North Saturday, Aug. 25. They return home to host Woodbury in a nonconference game Monday, Aug. 27, before returning to BRC action Tuesday, Aug. 28, against Rice lake. Both games kick off at 7 p.m. at the middle school field.

Hudson started slowly in its first game of the season against Onalaska but fired on all cylinders in its 7-0 win over Aquinas later in the day, leaving head coach Steve Sollom with mixed feelings.

"I was somewhat disappointed with our first game's performance, and pleased with the second," he said. "The boys are just getting used to me and what I'm asking them to do, and I'm getting used to their individual styles of play and strengths. Defensively, we were better the second game, but we have to get better in communication and that should come with practice."

Alek Spasic scored the first goal of the season off a rebound from 15 yards out in the 26th minute against Onalaska before Rocky Harmon netted a goal as time expired to give Hudson a 2-0 halftime lead.

Spasic scored his second goal of the game off a cross early in the second half before Major Klein tallied his first varsity goal off a pass from Caleb Ondrusik to make the final 4-0. Hudson outshot Onalaska, 25-4.

Sollom said he was pleased with the win but thought the Raiders could have looked sharper.

"We controlled the game and got some chances, but we weren't real sharp, and we played a little slower than we are capable of playing," he noted. "We got a couple of yellow cards early in the game, which was disappointing. Still we were controlling play.

"We got a shutout, which we were planning on, but I thought we were a little erratic in the back," he added.

The Raiders stepped up their level of play against Aquinas, outshooting them 25-1 on their way to a 7-0 victory.

Henry Brose converted a nice pass from Alex Schnobrich four minutes in, then chipped the ball over the charging Aquinas keeper two minutes later to give the Raiders a 2-0 lead. Ben Klundt headed in a rebound to make it a 3-0 score at halftime.

"We dominated in every aspect, and with any luck at all could have scored several more," Sollom said about the opening half. "The second half we again subbed everyone and got another goal from Klundt, and two goals from (Caleb) Ondrusik, the second one a spectacular header off a cross from Cavan Denning."

Friday night at Hartland Arrowhead, the Raiders gave up an own goal on a misplay and trailed 2-0 at the half before creating some opportunities in the second half that came up short.

"They came out with a lot more energy than we did and the first 20 minutes sort of ran us off the field," Sollom said. "We made some adjustments at half and tried a different lineup, and saw some success. Unfortunately, we couldn't put the ball in the net."

Sollom said the Raider defense played much better in the second half, with Arrowhead's only scoring opportunity coming on a breakaway that was stopped deftly by Raider goalkeeper Steph Smith.

"Arrowhead is a very strong team, but I think we were very evenly matched," Sollom said, noting shots were 19-16 in Arrowhead's favor. "In hindsight, I don't think we were prepared for the game at the start and that is something we will work on in the future. We know now what it takes to compete with a top tier team."

Saturday morning the Raiders erupted for seven goals in a shutout victory over Milwaukee Ronald Reagan, a smaller inner city school with a budding soccer program.

Schnobrich tallied a hat trick in the win while Micah Pederson, Ondrusik, Ian Schrack and Smith had a goal apiece. Harmon dished out a pair of assists while goalkeeper Mitch Rosiejka picked up the shutout.

"In all, it was a lopsided game and we really could have played a lot better but we sort of let our play drop to their level," Sollom said. "We got everybody in the game and got to try some players in other positions."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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