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Raider girls' soccer team falls in regional final

Hudson senior Alyssa Claflin fires a shot on goal that was saved by the Chippewa Falls' goaltender in the first half of a WIAA Division 1 regional soccer semifinal last Thursday at the middle school field. Claflin had one goal in the game to help the Raiders to a 4-0 victory. Bob Burrows photo

Hudson girls' soccer coach Allie Knutson has been stressing fast starts all season long. Last Thursday, in the Raiders' WIAA regional soccer semifinal at home against Chippewa Falls, the Raiders scored within the first three minutes of each half and kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard in a 4-0 victory.

Saturday, the No. 7 seed Raiders traveled to second-seeded D.C. Everest for the regional final, and after a scoreless first half, found themselves on the short end of a 3-0 score, ending their season with a record of 7-6-1.

Knutson said while Thursday's semifinal win was exciting, losing the regional championship after holding the top-seed scoreless in the first half was disappointing.

"It was heartbreaking to lose after fighting so hard for 80 minutes," she said. "I was extremely proud of how my girls played though, stepping up their physicality, while staying clean against this team."

Hudson had 14 shots in the game compared to 14 for the top-seeded Evergreens. D.C. Everest took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, then scored on a penalty kick after a hand ball in the box to extend its lead to 2-0.

"At that point I pulled one of our backs up to try to get back the two goals, leaving us much more vulnerable in the back, resulting in another D.C. goal," Knutson said.

Knutson said the she was proud of how the Raiders handled the Evergreens physical style of play.

"I was so impressed with how my girls handled themselves," she said. "We held our composure and were still able to play our game against them."

Last Thursday in the regional semifinal against Chippewa Falls, Alyssa Claflin opened the scoring two minutes into the game, assisted by Haley Bouzard, and McKenzie Buck added a goal four minutes later off another Bouzard assist to give the Raiders an early 2-0 lead.

Buck made the score 3-0 with her second goal of the game, unassisted, just after intermission before Alexa Haines made the final 4-0, assisted by Nicole Mara, later in the second half.

Goalkeeper Megan Nelson was perfect between the pipes to record her fourth shutout of the season.

"It was an exciting game to watch and the girls as a whole played very well," Knutson said before turning her attention to the team's graduating seniors.

"We will really miss the nine seniors next season," she said. "There are some big shoes to fill there."

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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