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Girls soccer improves to 6-0

That collective buzz you hear around town is the excitement brewing over the Raider girls' soccer team.

The squad improved to 6-0 last week with a pair of 6-0 wins, sandwiched around a 5-1 victory over Eau Claire North. All three wins came on the road.

Last Tuesday's shutout win at Rice Lake and Thursday's win at Eau Claire North boosted the Raiders' record to 4-0 in Big Rivers Conference play.

The team traveled to Chippewa Falls Tuesday for its fourth straight road game and has a week off before hosting Eau Claire Memorial April 28, at 7 p.m. As of press time, the Raiders and Old Abes were the only two undefeated teams in the BRC.

The Raiders' latest win came by a 6-0 score at Somerset on Friday. Megan Claflin scored the only goal of the first half, assisted by Ashley Iverson, before Hudson exploded for five goals in the second half to put the game away.

Iverson assisted on goals by Katy Schulte and Allie Beaver and Beaver scored another with an assist from goalkeeper Tessa Bakken. Morgan Karras added an unassisted goal and Megan Kelly scored on a beautiful header off a corner kick by Paige Ommen.

One day earlier, the Raiders outshot Eau Claire North, 15-3, in a game coached by boys' varsity coach Chuck Bublitz. The game was switched from Hudson to Eau Claire at the last minute, and first-year Raider girls' coach Allie Knutson was unable to travel with the team.

"I worked with Chuck this fall when I coached the JV guys, so it was someone I knew and trusted to coach the girls," Knutson said.

The Raiders didn't miss a beat, jumping out to a 3-0 halftime lead on their way to a 5-1 win. Schulte, Claflin and Jessica Sutmar accounted for the first half goals with assists from Ommen, Schulte and Kelly.

Ashley Johnson netted the Raiders' fourth goal early in the second half when Iverson dribbled past the Husky defenders into the corner and played a great ball to the center, where Johnson finished by putting the ball into the open side of the net.

Mckenzie Buck made the final 5-1, again assisted by Iverson, after Schulte fed a perfect pass to Iverson, who one-timed a through ball past the Husky defense where Buck carried it into the box and buried it into the far side of the net.

Bublitz said Iverson played a key role in the Raider attack, and that Ommen and Abbie Beaudry did a great job of controlling the middle.

"Their passing, marking and tackling prevented North from staying organized defensively and having any kind of possession," Bublitz said. "Natalie Anderson also made a few outstanding tackles, one time chasing down (North's) Samantha Price and timing her tackle right as Price touched the ball; really excellent."

Bublitz called Bakken's play in goal, "a really brave, outstanding performance." Bakken made five saves in the win.

"Tessa Bakken played outstanding, often coming far off her line and taking hits from oncoming forwards while making her saves." Bublitz said.

Last Tuesday at Rice Lake, Iverson had two goals and an assist, Schulte had a goal and an assist, and Ommen had two assists in a 6-0 win over the Warriors.

Sutmar, Claflin, and Megan Kelly also scored goals for the Raiders while Buck and Emily Pelton each had an assist. Bakken made seven saves in goal to record the shutout.

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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