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Soccer: Raiders hit rough patch

Hudson's Cole Little (7) and Cole Osterhues (24), and Eau Claire Memorial goalkeeper Tyler Hanson all get to the ball at the same time on a corner kick in the second half of the Raiders' 4-0 loss to the Old Abes in a Big Rivers Conference soccer match in Hudson Thursday, Sept. 7. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Hudson goalkeeper Corey Denning makes a diving save in the second half of the Raiders' 4-0 loss to Eau Claire Memorial Thursday, Sept. 7. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Three matches in three days against three ranked teams on opposite sides of the state.

That's the challenge the Raider boys soccer team faced last week, and it didn't end well.

Hudson was shut out by Eau Claire Memorial, 4-0, Thursday, Sept. 7 at home before heading to Milwaukee where they lost 4-2 to Cedarburg Friday, Sept. 8, and 7-1 to Marquette University School Saturday, Sept. 9.

Marquette is the top-ranked Division 1 team in the state and Eau Claire Memorial is No. 4 while Cedarburg is ranked third in Division 2. But head coach Steve Sollom wasn't making any excuses.

"The bottom line is we need to really improve," he said. "We are a young team but there's really no excuse for getting blown out. We are good enough to keep it close. We aren't going to win games giving up four goals a game, so we will start there. The offense also needs work, but that always takes more time to develop. It's a long season and we can learn from this weekend and improve game to game."

Eau Claire Memorial scored three goals in the first half on its way to beating the Raiders for the first time since September 2014.

"Memorial has a good team filled with seniors this year. That said, we didn't play very well defensively and gave them way too many chances," Sollom noted. "They haven't beaten us in some time and clearly wanted it. I knew we were physically outmatched, but more importantly we seemed mentally unprepared."

The Raiders traveled to Milwaukee the next day to play a fresh-legged Cedarburg team and lost 4-2. Paul Phillipson converted a cross from Maxx Rohde and Kolton Prater scored off a free kick to account for the Hudson goals.

"We really just looked slow and tired all game," Sollom said.

Several Raiders returned home for other commitments Saturday when an already tired Raider team faced top-ranked Marquette. Hudson found itself down 2-0 after ten minutes and 3-0 at halftime before Prater beat a defender and fired a shot inside the far post for the lone goal in a 7-1 loss.

"We had several players gone for the match and really only had two subs for the game," Sollom said. "We tried to play a smart, defensive game and really did neither. It was about as uncompetitive of a game as I've seen in some time out of a Hudson team."

The Raiders, 2-5 overall, 2-1 in Big Rivers Conference play, will look to regroup this week at Chippewa Falls Tuesday, Sept. 12, and home against River Falls Thursday, Sept. 14, before another long road trip to Middleton and Oregon this weekend.

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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